DENVER -- Welcome back to Rick Carlisle's doghouse, Samuel Dalembert.
Dalembert, the Dallas Mavericks' starting center, didn't get off the bench in the second half of Wednesday's 115-110 loss to the Denver Nuggets. His contributions during his 9 minutes, 33 seconds of playing time: one rebound, one assist and three missed shots. The Mavs were outscored by 18 points with Dalembert on the floor.
The Mavs were outscored by 18 points during Dalembert's brief time on the court against the Nuggets. Fourth-string center Bernard James, who has played so sparingly that he made a D-League appearance last week, replaced Dalembert in the lineup to start the second half.
"'Sarge' is an energetic guy and we needed energy," Carlisle said, explaining his decision.
In other words, Dalembert provided no energy whatsoever while the Nuggets torched the Mavs in the first half.
"We're a team," Dalembert said when asked his reaction to being benched. "Whatever decisions they made, we go with it. We support each other."
Asked if he thought the benching was justified, the usually affable Dalembert mumbled, "You should ask [Carlisle]. You should ask him. You should ask him." With that, Dalembert walked out of the locker room.
While Dalembert had a strong February, this development can't be considered a surprise. He's playing for his fifth team in five seasons in large part because his inconsistent effort wears on coaches.
That was the case early in the season, when Dalembert was twice late for practices because he overslept, resulting in his losing the starting job. But he's the only experienced prototypical big man on the Mavs' roster, and Dallas desperately needs Dalembert to be an interior defensive presence.
That's especially true against the Portland Trail Blazers, who lead the league in scoring and visit Dallas on Friday night.
With that matchup looming, it'll be interesting to see if this was a one-night visit to the doghouse for Dalembert.