Shawn Marion's offensive production has never been more important than now with Dirk Nowitzki and Caron Butler out of the lineup. He's come through, averaging 16.4 points a game -- five to six points more than his average when he came off the bench.
In the last two games, losses to the Oklahoma Thunder and Orlando Magic, Marion combined for 43 points, but he scored zero in the fourth quarters of both games when the Mavs were outscored by a total of 12 points in the two games. In fact, Marion didn't even attempt a shot in either fourth quarter.
Worth nothing is that Marion played 7:23 of the fourth quarter against the Thunder and logged 36:33, well above his season average. Two nights later, coach Rick Carlisle elected to play Marion just 4:36 of the fourth to keep him at 28:34 for the game. Marion said conditioning-wise he has no problem with playing heavier minutes.
"I feel good," Marion said. "I'm all right."
Marion is often asked to defend the opponent's top scorer, and that responsibility grew when Butler was lost for the season on Jan. 1. With our without Marion in the game, the last two fourth quarters have not been pretty. Oklahoma City scored 26 points on 47.6 percent shooting and Orlando poured in 37 points on 57.9 percent shooting.
"The thing is sometimes when we get stagnant on offense, we get stagnant on defense and it shows," Marion said. "Actually, when we really pass the ball very well on offense, the defense is unstoppable.
"We've just got to keep moving the ball and keep making extra passes out here. That makes us that much more deadlier," Marion continued. "When we’re moving and making extra passes here and there and just looking for each other, the game is that much easier for us."