DALLAS -- Rest assured that Delonte West's absence from fourth-quarter action Wednesday night was not a result of him hurting his still-healing right ring finger.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle first put that speculation to rest and then West did the same in the locker room. To prove it he showed the progress he's made by slightly bending the digit at the knuckle. Yes, that's progress.
And so was West's hot-shooting performance in the 95-85 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Coming off a disappointing start at point guard Monday as Jason Kidd's replacement, West bounced back by draining six of his seven shots for 14 points. He hit a couple of pull-up jumpers during a key 11-5 close to the second quarter. He knocked down two 3-pointers in the third quarter, so who knew when he exited with 2:18 to go in the third and the Mavs trailing 66-63 that his night was over?
His backup, Roddy Beaubois, was having such an impact in the fourth quarter on both ends of the floor that Carlisle never made a move back to West as the Mavs pulled away in the final five minutes. And West, who still logged 26 minutes with just one turnover, was more than happy to let Beaubois take care of business.
"It was a big game for Roddy because that shows a lot of trust coach has in our players, letting him finish out the game with an impressive third and fourth (quarters)," West said. "And he needs to know this team is counting on him and pushing for him, too, so he responded in a good way."
Beaubois needed a solid outing after another down spell low-lighted by another DNP-CD last Friday at Orlando. That was followed by a less-than-stellar outing Monday against the Clippers. The lanky guard had his own bounce back with eight points, five assists, a steal and two blocks, including a beauty on Mike Conley's 3-point attempt at the point of release in a one-point game in the fourth quarter.
"Any time you finish the game; everybody wants to be on the floor so I just tried to make a difference on defense," Beaubois said. "Coaches told me now that Delonte is back I have to be more aggressive defensively, so I focus on that and just try to help the team this way."
Until Kidd returns, and it appears that won't be until next Tuesday at the earliest, the Mavs will rely on West and Beaubois to run the show.
"That’s what we’re here for and I think (Wednesday) was a good rough draft for how we've got to play moving forward," West said. "We have to be that energizer when we get out there."
Here's three more items to consider as the Mavs take Thursday off, literally, with no practice scheduled.
1. Long-distance Jet: Jason Terry insisted he'd take 30 shots if that's what was needed to get the offense moving, but against the Grizzlies he settled for 14. He made six with one coming from downtown and in perfect Jet fashion he hit it during the big fourth quarter run to extend a three-point lead to six. The 3-pointer also tied Terry with Peja Stojakovic on the NBA's all-time 3-point field goals made list with 1,760. Terry is 23 away from tying Chauncey Billups for fourth.
2. Brandan Wright grounded: The lanky skywalker logged just two minutes against Memphis and its burly front line featuring 7-foot-1, 265-pound center Marc Gasol. It's becoming clear that in a playoff series against a team with big, skilled centers, Wright could find plenty of bench time.
Against Orlando and Dwight Howard, the 6-10, 210-pound Wright played less than three minutes. Against the Lakers and Andrew Bynum, he played 16 minutes, but Brendan Haywood was out with a sprained knee. In the Feb 22 meeting against L.A., Wright played 10 minutes. Wright did log 21 minutes in the Feb. 29 game at Memphis and Gasol went for 22 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
3. Rare hot shooting: The Mavs shot 50 percent (40-of-80) from the floor against Memphis, hitting the mark for the first time in eight games (53.6 percent at Denver, March 19) and for just the fourth time in the last 34 games. They're 4-0 in those games and 8-0 overall.