DALLAS -- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban hasn't been shy about promoting his his team as one of the deepest in the league. At times, it can look like fool's gold, but in Monday's big win over the Boston Celtics, the Mavs got needed contributions all the way down to the 10th man.
That would be little-used reserve guard DeShawn Stevenson, the throw-in to the deal that netted the Dallas Mavericks small forward Caron Butler and center Brendan Haywood. Stevenson stepped into the starting lineup against the Celtics to allow Jason Terry to step back and provide missing firepower off the bench.
Stevenson hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter to get the Mavs off to a quick lead, and he did a fine defensive job on tough-cover shooting guard Ray Allen during his 14 minutes of action. Stevenson had played two total minutes in the first five games. Since he came to the Mavs, Stevenson's minutes have been minimal, but when called upon he has consistently delivered.
"I give Stevenson a lot of credit," Dirk Nowitzki said. "It's not easy to not play for five games straight and stay ready and come out and play like that, guard Ray and make some big shots for us. Definitely happy for him. He's a professional. He showed it tonight: 'If the coach calls my number, I'm going to be ready.' So definitely happy for him. He ignited our offense there in the first quarter."
Clearly, Carlisle believes the second unit is better off with Terry as the key offensive target. He hit three more 3-pointers on five attempts to take his 3-point shooting percentage up to 52.2 through six games.
It will be interesting to see how Carlisle plays this out. With Roddy Beaubois as the projected starter at shooting guard when he returns from a foot injury, a return that still might be weeks away, could Stevenson go from a bit player to a starter? His role would primarily be to defend with any offense he can provide, such as Monday's early boost, considered gravy.
Carlisle is never one to stop experimenting. He used 18 different lineups last season. Monday was just the second one this season and Stevenson's start did come somewhat as a suprirse. Still, the starting lineup could remain fluid depending on matchups. Stevenson at least provided Carlisle with the confidence to know that he can utilize Terry from the more advantageous spot off the bench.
"Jet has been playing awesome starting, but coming off the bench he gives us a scorer and a veteran that knows the offense and plays well," Stevenson said. "On this team you've got so many great guys. I just want to win. When you're on a team like this, it makes it easier to come out and work hard and respect the game."