Carlisle plans to keep Mavericks starting lineup intact

Posted Monday, Jan. 27, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Despite solid play at both ends of the court from Devin Harris in the past two games, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle isn’t about to put him in the starting lineup in place of Jose Calderon.

It’s no secret that Harris is a much better defender than Calderon, who has been challenged at times on that side of the court. But a change in the starting lineup? Forget about it.

“We’ve worked a lot to this point to get a lot of things going the right way and I just can’t see throwing a big upheaval into it right now,” Carlisle said after Monday’s practice at American Airlines Center. “I just don’t think that’s the way to go.”

Harris has been back for five games after undergoing left foot surgery in August. And he’s already shown that he can become an impact player.

On Friday at Brooklyn, Harris played just 16 minutes and finished with 14 points, four assists and no turnovers. In Sunday’s win over Detroit, the 10-year veteran finished with 14 points, seven assists and one turnover in 24 minutes.

Harris is known for drawing charging fouls. Carlisle, though, reminded the media Monday that Calderon took a charge against the Pistons.

“Jose’s defense is getting better,” Carlisle said. “He had been getting better, then he had a rough 10 days or so, and now he’s picked it back up.

“We’ll adjust how we need to adjust in games, but I like our lineup the way it is. I like that there’s continuity, [and] there’s familiarity.”

Harris said he could care less about being in the starting lineup. His thoughts are more on contributing to the Mavs in any way possible.

“I’m still trying to get my legs under me,” Harris said. “I’ve still got a lot of work to do.

“I’m just making the most of my experiences on the floor, trying to get used to playing with different guys and in different situations. I’m just trying to figure out what they like.”

Ellis’ turnover problem

Carlisle has been working with Monta Ellis about his turnover problem.

On Wednesday at Toronto, the guard Ellis turned the ball over a season-high eight times during a 93-85 loss to the Raptors. Two games later Ellis again committed eight turnovers during Sunday’s win over Detroit.

Most of Ellis’ turnovers are coming when he is attacking the basket and trying to create opportunities for himself or his teammates. And the Mavs are at their best when Ellis attacks the basket.

“He has the ball so much and we ask him to be aggressive, but there’s going to be nights when there’s going to be turnovers,” Carlisle said. “He knows that he’s got to be a little more patient at times, but his wiring is that he is an attack-first guy.

“I’ve got to be careful as the coach not to diminish the things that is his ultimate strengths. But we need him to be aggressive and play his game, and the turnover thing, it’ll improve.”

Ellis, who has had a dozen games this season when he’s had just one or two turnovers, insists the high numbers of turnovers he’s had lately are only an aberration.

“That’s basketball, it happens,” Ellis said. “Let that one go and move on.”

Ellis vows to keep attacking the basket.

The Mavs just have to deal with the costly turnovers that sometimes come with his overly aggressive game.

“Sometimes I’ll have three turnovers, sometimes I’m not going to have any turnovers,” Ellis said. “But it’s just part of the game.

“You just got to keep attacking and make the simple plays and not make careless turnovers.”

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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