DALLAS — After he hit that rookie wall a few weeks ago, Jae Crowder has been a pretty effective player for the Dallas Mavericks.“He’s held up extremely well over the long haul for a young player,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I know about a week ago he was getting really physically and mentally tired just because of the NBA season compared to the college season, but he did the right things to battle through it.“He concentrated on eating better, getting his rest, and along the way he’s gotten good directions from [team psychologist ] Don Kalkstein.”A rookie from Marquette, Crowder said the length of the NBA season has come with challenges. But he’s been able to persevere, averaging 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per game.“I think I hit the rookie wall early in the year and I’ve moved forward and I feel pretty good right now,” Crowder said. “I know it’s very rare for Carlisle to play rookies.“I’ve played over 1,000 minutes. I just know I work hard and I try to do my job — that’s what I really believe in.”Carlisle has begun to trust Crowder. That was even more apparent recently when Shawn Marion missed eight games with a strained left calf, and Crowder played a lot more minutes at the power forward spot.“He had to step in and start for two weeks when Shawn was out,” Carlisle said. “That’s a big responsibility when you’re in a position like we are, when every game is virtually do or die.“But he’s made big improvements in a lot of areas. I think he’s going to be a very, very good system player for a lot of years in this league. He’s an adaptable player and that’s one of the things we like about him, and he works and he gets it.”Nowitzki suffering from sinusForward Dirk Nowitzki had already gone home by the time the media was allowed in the locker room following Sunday’s 113-108 win over the Utah Jazz. But Rick Carlisle said he had a perfectly good reason for the early departure.“Every year, two or three times, he has a sinus thing that comes around,” Carlisle said. “So I think that’s what it was.”Carlisle then said: “I left early, too, that night.”Carlisle was referring to the fact that the Mavs led the Jazz, 104-87, with 3:12 left, only to see Utah inch within 111-108 with 7.3 seconds to go.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice