Rodrigue Beaubois fights pain and earns respect

CHICAGO -- Rodrigue Beaubois squirmed on the United Center floor, grasped his left hand with the crooked ring finger and wailed. Thoughts raced that the third-year guard's luck had once again run out on the cusp of the postseason.

Or worse.

"Oh man, he was yelling," Dirk Nowitzki said, barely cracking a smile. "I thought we were going to have to put him down, he was yelling so loud. But he was all right. I looked over and his finger was just a little sidewise."

The initial sight of his unnaturally bent finger unnerved Beaubois. Could it be as bad as the right ring finger that Delonte West dislocated and broke in mid-February that made him miss the next 21 games?

"That's why I was kind of scared when I saw that," said Beaubois, a victim of his first dislocated finger. "Finally, it wasn't that bad. At first I didn't know."

n a span of four minutes of the second quarter, Beaubois went from snapping his finger in the jersey of Chicago Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer to writhing in pain, a second empty postseason flashing before his eyes. He walked to the locker room, his left arm pinned to his side, his fingers outstretched and as stiff as a No. 2 pencil.

And before anyone had even noticed, Beaubois -- his ring finger popped back into place and squeezed next to his middle finger with white tape -- was back on the bench.

Moments later he was back on the floor. The 6-foot-2 guard, who got an important start with Jason Kidd and Jason Terry taking the night off, put on a show against the Eastern Conference's best team and last season's MVP.

Beaubois' 16 points -- 10 in the fourth quarter -- five assists and six rebounds in a team-high 38 minutes didn't lead the Mavs to a victory. Dallas lost 93-83 in a game that was closer than the score indicated, but Beaubois went mano-a-mano with Derrick Rose for large chunks of time, turning in an overall effort that his teammates needed to see.

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