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Dirk on lineups: Too late for hard feelings

It’s pointless to try to predict what starting lineup Rick Carlisle is going to pull out of a hat.

Brandan Wright made his first start in almost four months during Wednesday night’s win over the Houston Rockets. Think that’s strange? Mike James made his first start in almost five years!

That meant the yo-yo effect continued for one-year rentals Chris Kaman and Darren Collison. They’ve started the majority of the Mavericks’ games at center and point guard, respectively, but those starting roles are far from certain.

Look at Kaman’s last five games – he has three starts sandwiched by a pair of DNP-CDs. Collison has been benched in favor of Derek Fisher, Dominique Jones and James at different points this season.

It’s far from ideal to have two starting jobs decided on a game-by-game basis at this point of the year, but this has been a far from ideal season. That’s why Dirk Nowitzki, who is still a lock to start at power forward, doesn’t have a whole lot of sympathy for his teammates who are bouncing back and forth between the starting lineup and bench.

“It really doesn’t matter,” Nowitzki said. “Everybody who is coming in has to contribute. It’s too late now for hard feelings. We’ve got to suck it up and play and try to help win some games.”

Carlisle had his reasons for the changes to the starting lineup against the Rockets, and it wasn’t just because the Mavs had to do something different after being embarrassed by Houston a few nights earlier.

James gave the Mavs a tough, physical, experienced defender on Jeremy Lin. Wright provided a significant boost of quickness and athleticism against a fast-tempo, quick-twitch team.

“All that worked out fine,” Carlisle said after the Mavs’ win, “but it was less about the lineup change and more about our attitude.”