Buzz: Sam Dalembert plays big

DALLAS – This is the kind of night that gets a guy out of the doghouse.

Samuel Dalembert, fresh off his first DNP-CD of the season, didn’t get off the bench until midway through the third quarter in Wednesday night’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies. But the big man made his presence felt once he finally got in the game.

Dalembert, who was demoted from the starting lineup during the Mavs’ recent road trip, had eight points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 13 minutes against the Grizzlies. He played with the kind of energy the Mavs’ coaches demand of him and did an outstanding job defensively against Memphis’ post-up monster Zach Randolph.

“Sammy D’s back!” a Mavs staffer said with a smile in the locker room.

Coach Rick Carlisle, who went to Dalembert during a Grizzlies’ run, credited the center for playing Randolph straight up after Memphis took advantage of some Dallas double-teams. Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter praised Dalembert’s professionalism despite his personal disappointment after not playing in Saturday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

“It was a test for me personally,” Dalembert said. “I stay ready and never know when exactly they’re going to call. It was a challenge for me. I embrace it.”

Carter the creator: Sixth man Vince Carter led the Mavs in assists for the second consecutive game, following up his nine-dime performance Saturday night with six assists.

“There’s a lot of guys open,” Carter said. “There’s a lot of options there. We’re just trying to take advantage of it and keep rolling.”

Carter, who slumped last month, has also had a couple of strong shooting nights in a row. He has a total of 29 points on 9-of-16 shooting in the last two games.