“I just want to win games and try to help my teammates,” said Calderon, who played only 16 minutes in the Mavs’ Game 1 loss, the fewest of any game in which he wasn’t injured all season. “Whatever is better for the team, I’ve got no problem with that at all. …
“If I’m not good out there, I’m the first one to want to be on the bench because someone is doing better. With that, I’ve got no problem. We are 15 guys for a reason. Coach has got to decide. It is what it is, but we cannot be changing everything after one loss or one game.”
If the Mavs make a lineup change for Game 2, it will be a surprise. Dirk Nowitzki declared Monday that the Mavs would stick with Calderon as the starter, which coach Rick Carlisle confirmed the next day.
That makes sense given the chemistry of the Mavs’ bench, especially considering that Harris did the majority of his damage during his 19-point, five-assist performance when matched up with Spurs backup point guard Patty Mills.
Calderon had a horrible first quarter, when he was 0-of-4 from the floor as the Mavs fell behind by 12 points. He was much better to start the second half, scoring seven points on 3-of-5 shooting in a seven-minute stint in the third quarter.
“I liked the way he approached both situations,” Carlisle said. “It’s just the third quarter, the shots were going down. That’s the only difference.
“We need him to just be aggressive. For 80 or 82 games or whatever he played this year, he was a key guy for us. He was key for us because he was aggressive looking to score, he was a set-up man on offense and he was a guy who could scramble on defense. We need him to do those things.”
Calderon’s inability to guard Spurs All-Star point guard Tony Parker causes major matchup problems for the Mavs, who used small forward Shawn Marion on Parker and shooting guard Monta Ellis on Kawhi Leonard at the beginning of both halves in Game 1.
However, Calderon did an excellent job executing his defensive assignment of not allowing sharpshooter Danny Green to get any open looks. Green, who was 12-of-20 from 3-point range in four regular-season wins over the Mavs, was scoreless on 0-of-2 shooting Sunday.
Calderon felt like he forced the first shot he took in Game 1, but that was his only problem with his offensive approach in the loss.
“The rest of them, I’ve been making those shots the whole season,” Calderon said. “Some nights, you make more, but if they’re there I’ve got to take those shots. If you have three shots in a row, you’ve got to take it. I’m just trying to be positive. You cannot be hesitating.”
Calderon is also well aware that if his shot isn’t falling, he’ll probably spend the majority of Game 2 cheering from the Mavs’ bench. That might be the case even if Calderon is shooting well, simply because of how Harris can impact a game against the Spurs.
“I’ve got the confidence of coach and a great relationship with Devin,” Calderon said. “We’re know we’re different, and that’s good for the team. I don’t get too much into what [the media] is talking about. For me, this is how I see basketball and how it’s been for a while.
“This is the way I play. You can like it or not, but I’ve been doing it for 82 games this year plus one playoff game. Some nights, it’s going to be your night; some nights, not. But coach is the one who decides.”