It appears Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is settling on the rotation that will be in play for the playoffs. Injuries notwithstanding.
The biggest question has been at starting small forward. Shawn Marion looks to be the guy, despite spending most of the season coming off the bench. Carlisle likes the combination of offense and defense Marion gives the first unit.
Roddy Beaubois has taken the reins at shooting guard, another revolving door this season. The other three in the starting group are no surprise: power forward Dirk Nowitzki, point guard Jason Kidd and center Tyson Chandler.
Carlisle prefers bringing guard Jason Terry and forward Peja Stojakovic in together when the first subs are made, giving the Mavs a scoring boost off the bench. J.J. Barea is also part of the regular bench brigade. Brendan Haywood will usually back up Chandler, though Ian Mahinmi is also in the mix.
"We're working toward getting together a playoff rotation here," Carlisle here. "We're closely identifying roles and what we need from people, and our communication defensively is going to be a big key."
The players are aware of Carlisle's plan.
"Coach already made a point that we're going to do certain things with the rotation, so we understand that part of it," Terry said. "We understand what he's expecting out of each and every player. He's holding us accountable, so we're in a good place."
The next place for Dallas (52-31) to visit is Los Angeles, with a Clippers-Lakers back-to-back beginning Wednesday at Staples Center.
MAVERICKS 91, SUNS 83: Jason Terry and Jason Kidd were huge in the fourth quarter and Dallas buckled down defensively late to win Sunday on the road in Phoenix. Five Mavs scored in double-figures, but no one had more than the 16 points Terry and Kidd both had. Dallas knocked down 10-of-26 three-pointers, while the Suns were just 1-of-15.
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