DENVER – Rick Carlisle has a definite plan in place to rest some of his players during the last four regular season games.
But the Dallas Mavericks coach isn’t incline to share that information with the media.
"I’m going to give you the lineups before the game as per our normal procedure,’’ Carlisle said after Friday morning’s shootaround at the Pepsi Center. "And we’re going to play these games to win.’’
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The Mavs (47-31) play the Denver Nuggets (29-49) at 8 tonight in the opener of a three-game road trip. They’ll also play the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday and the Utah Jazz on Monday before returning home and ending the regular season Wednesday against Portland.
Carlisle’s squad is already locked in as the Western Conference’s No. 7 seed. So these last four games are basically meaningless game s—unless the Mavs really care about trying to win 50 games for the first time since they won 57 during their 2010-’11 championship season.
Center Tyson Chandler believes more important things are in play besides winning 50 games.
"Just for us to get into a rhythm, our communication defensively, our positioning on defense, our execution, the way we play offense,’ Chandler said. "I think that’s the most important, rather than our opponents and who we’re facing, I think it’s the most important how we feel out there and how we’re executing on both ends.’’
It’s also important for the Mavs to have small forward Chandler Parsons back before the playoffs start. Parsons will miss his third straight game tonight with swelling in his right knee, but Carlisle is optimistic that he’ll be able to play at some point on this road trip.
"The signs are improving,’’ Carlisle said. "There are no definites, but there’s been definite progress made, which is encouraging.
"He went through basically all of shootaround (Friday), which is not the most taxing thing. But it’s ahead of where he was a couple of days ago.’’
Chandler acknowledged that it’s important for Parsons to get back on the court and in a game before the playoffs start.
"I had that problem when I was in New York a couple of years ago and sat out like the last 10 games of the season, or whatever it was, and I had a really tough time getting in a rhythm in the playoffs because the game completely changes,’’ Chandler said. "And also when you’re going into game shape, the playoffs is not the time.
"If you can I think it’s important that you get a game or two in to find that rhythm and get into a little bit of basketball shape. It’s different when you’re running on a treadmill and water and all that kind of stuff than when somebody’s hitting you and you’re running up and down the court.’’
Meanwhile, backup center Amar’e Stoudemire noted that getting proper rest entering the playoffs trumps winning 50 games.
"I think right now we’re just trying to stay sharp, keep guys healthy and stay in a pretty good rhythm and get our mental ready for the postseason,’’ Stoudemire said. "I’m sure I’ll rest one of these (last four games), for sure.
"I haven’t talked to coach yet about it, but I’ll speak with him later on about it to see which game will be a good game to rest. But one of the back-to-backs will be perfect to rest.’’