DALLAS -- It's a move that Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said was born out of happenstance.
Usually, Shawn Marion is the small forward who's on the floor for the Mavericks in the fourth quarter during crunch time. But over the past two games, that spot has been taken by Vince Carter.
During the Mavericks' 123-121 triple-overtime loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday, Marion didn't play at all in the fourth quarter or in any of the three overtime periods. In Wednesday's 117-110 victory over the Houston Rockets, Marion left the game with 8.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter and never returned.
The majority of Marion's crunch-time minutes went to Carter, who had 18 points and 12 rebounds against Utah, and a season-high 23 points and four rebounds against Houston.
The main reason Carlisle leans more toward Carter instead of Marion in the fourth quarter is because he doesn't want defenders overplaying the Mavericks' top two scorers -- Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry.
"We've needed [Carter] the past couple of games for spacing, and we need his all-around ability," Carlisle said. "Carter played his most impressive game of the season for us [Wednesday] -- real aggressive, good things at both ends. He just had a really strong disposition at both ends of the floor."
Marion said he's on board with whatever he needs to do to help the Mavericks win games, even if it means he becomes a crunch-time spectator.
"Our season is like that, it is what it is, it happens sometimes," Marion said. "They had the thing going and Coach didn't want to change it up, and that's OK.
"It's a matter sometimes of circumstances and the way the game's going."
Asked if he understands what Carlisle is attempting to do, Marion said: "As far as what?"
Told as far as playing Carter in crucial situations the past two games, Marion said: "What are you trying to do? You're trying to do something. Go ask [Carlisle]. We're trying to win games right now, I think they had a good rhythm going and that's all it was."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760