DALLAS -- Mavericks center Samuel Dalembert wore a white jersey during Friday morning’s shootaround.
That’s a pretty good clue that Dalembert’s latest demotion from the starting lineup was only for the second half of Wednesday’s indefensible and defenseless loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Of course, coach Rick Carlisle offered no confirmation on whether Dalembert would start Friday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.
“My lineup policy hasn’t changed in six years,” said Carlisle, who typically won’t reveal his starters until 16 minutes before tipoff, as required by NBA rules. “We’ll let you know tonight.”
Carlisle doesn’t need to tell us that the Mavs need an engaged version of Dalembert to have a decent chance of beating the Trail Blazers.
The Mavs need a big body to bang with Portland power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and center Robin Lopez. The 6-foot-11, 250-pound Aldridge is an All-Star who averages 23.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. The 7-foot, 265-pound Lopez, whom Carlisle calls “the most underrated acquisition on their team,” averages 11.0 points and 8.7 rebounds and is especially effective on the offensive glass (fourth in the NBA with 4.0 offensive rebounds per game).
In other news, Wayne Ellington is expected to be available Friday night after missing Wednesday’s loss due to personal reasons. Ellington was traveling from his hometown of Philadelphia on Friday morning.
UPDATE: Dalembert did indeed get the start Friday night, taking the opening tip against Portland's Robin Lopez.