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Ian Mahinmi thrown into NBA Finals fire

DALLAS -- Of the five fouls Dallas Mavericks third-string center Ian Mahinmi picked up in his eight minutes of action in Game 3, the fourth one bothered him most.

The young Frenchman bit on Miami Heat old-timer Juwan Howard's pump fake along the baseline, sending him to the free throw line for two points with a minute left in the third quarter.

"Those kind of things I don't want to do the same mistake again. I have to stay down on the pump fake," Mahinmi said. "Maybe I don't get that foul and maybe I stay in longer and maybe it's better for Tyson Chandler."

Mahinmi picked up his fifth foul one minute into the fourth quarter, sending him to the bench for the rest of the game. Chandler logged 40 minutes for the first time all season.

Mahinmi's presence in Game 3 was necessary because backup center Brendan Haywood was sidelined with a right hip flexor that could also keep him out of Tuesday's Game 4.

"I definitely need to stay on the floor longer and give Tyson some more rest," Mahinmi said.

It had to be difficult to jump into the NBA Finals having a played a total of six minutes in the postseason with no appearances since Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on May 19.

Mahinmi, who drew a charge, had one rebound and made two free throws, said he learned from his first extended playoff action.

"The play [on Howard] when I jumped, that's a play you too much want to block the shot and you don't really need to," Mahinmi said. "You just need to contest it, stay down and contest it."

After Monday's media session on the floor of the American Airlines Center, Mahinmi was headed to the film room with assistant coach Dwane Casey to prepare for Game 4 in case Haywood is unable to play.

"I'll see exactly everything I did good, everything I did bad and try to focus on what I did good and bounce back [Tuesday]," Mahinmi said. "I really want to come out with the same energy. I want to have confidence and just a little bit more under control. Sometimes you have to bring your emotions a little bit down."