During Monday’s embarrassing 114-96 loss at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Mavs started Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Moses Brown.
On Wednesday, the starting five included Reggie Bullock, Dwight Powell, Doncic, Porzingis and Finney-Smith. The key is that Hardaway had been struggling mightily, and so has Bullock, so something had to give.
So coach Jason Kidd decided to shake things up with a move that he believed would help both Hardaway and Bullock. And with his comforting way of handling things, Kidd knew he had to address the change head-on with Hardaway, who had been a permanent fixture in the starting lineup this season.
“We tried (starting) Moses (on Monday), and we thought we could try Reggie (on Wednesday),” Kidd said. “I talked to Timmy beforehand about the idea. He was on board, and that just shows his leadership to be able to give a teammate an opportunity to start.
“Timmy didn’t do anything wrong to deserve not to start. Again, I went to him and talked to him about giving Reggie a chance to start to see if that could give us a different look, and I thought they both did a great job tonight.”
Bullock played 18 minutes and finished with six points and two rebounds and was 2-of-3 from the field. Hardaway, meanwhile, poured in 16 points in 25 minutes and was 6-of-9 from the floor and 4-of-7 from beyond the three-point arc.
Since joining the Mavs in a trade with the New York Knicks on Jan. 31, 2019, Hardaway has been in and out of the starting lineup, and has been overly gracious whenever he was pulled from the starting lineup. When he got the news from Kidd of his demotion, Wednesday was no different
“I took it with a grain of salt and moved forward,” Hardaway said. “We’re all professionals, we’re all here to win and I think he just wanted to switch something up and we move forward.
“I’m glad we got the win today. Like I said, it’s nothing that I can’t handle. I’ve done this before, so I’m good.”
Kidd said Hardaway’s acceptance of being removed from the starting lineup shows how he has matured over the years.
“I was looking at having Reggie start to see if there was anything we could do to give him confidence, and then also for Timmy,” Kidd said. “He’s played this role before coming off the bench, and so again talking with Timmy and for him to agree to do it is big, and it just shows leadership and growth on his part to not be offended, because everybody would love to start in this league.
“We’ve all played with great sixth men. But I think Timmy, again, played great tonight in his role and we’ll talk about going forward what we want to do.”
Since the Mavs had lost five of six games entering Wednesday’s contest, changes understandably had to be made to try and manipulate the end results.
“Sometimes it will help, sometimes it won’t. I thought today it helped and we played great.”
Hardaway said he felt great Wednesday and was able to get in a rhythm. Yet he also admits he “was struggling a little bit” prior to facing the Pelicans.
“This happened last year, this happened the year before,” Hardaway said. “Probably over the course of my career it’s always five-game (or a) seven-game stretch where the ball just doesn’t seem like it’s going in.
“But I’m not going to stop working. My teammates continue to feed me the rock and I’m going to continue to keep on getting shots after the games, after practice and before practice, and just stay a true professional.”
Shumpert became the first NBA player to capture the show’s top prize. Meanwhile, Cuban was a Dancing With The Stars contestant in 2007.
“Good for Iman,” Cuban said. “He wasn’t as good as I was, but he was good. So, more power to him for winning it, because it’s not easy to do. It’s really hard to do.”
When he danced on Dancing With The Stars in Season 5, Cuban said: “I lasted halfway through. I beat Floyd Mayweather, but yeah I made it halfway through. Right after I got my first hip replaced.”
BRIEFLY: Guard Frank Ntilikina sat out his fourth straight game Wednesday with a right calf strain. Coach Jason Kidd said he believes Ntilikina is “doing great,” but he doesn’t know when he’ll be ready to play again. “At shootaround (Wednesday), he did some full-court stuff,” Kidd said. “So we’ll see how he feels and then we’ll see if he’s able to practice tomorrow, then we’ll go from there.”. .Center Willie Cauley-Stein missed his second consecutive game due to personal reasons. Kidd said of Cauley-Stein: “We will let you know when there’s an update to the change of his status.”. .In a rare stat, the Mavs have actually had a lead in each of their 20 games this season. And Wednesday’s game against the Pelicans — when the Mavs built a 38-point lead (131-93) – wound up being their largest lead in a game this season. The Mavs’ previous largest lead in a game was the 27-point lead they had during the Nov. 12 contest in San Antonio. The smallest lead the Mavs have had in any game this season was the two-pointer they had at Denver on Oct. 29. . .Jason Kidd offered his support to first-year Pelicans coach Willie Green. “Willie’s a quiet guy, but he’s a great, great guy,” Kidd said. “He’s a great coach. You can see he never panics. I think he’s one that’s always going to talk to his players and let them know where they are. He’s a guy that wants to help them get better, so they have a great coach here in New Orleans and I’m happy for Willie.”