Without any prompting from anyone, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle went out on a limb Saturday and announced that his team really does have a Big Three.
And it doesn’t include Shawn Marion.
Those players, according to Carlisle, are Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Vince Carter. Carlisle, however, had a special inclusion for Marion.
“Vince and Dirk and Monta, they’ve got to be our three stars on this team,” Carlisle said. “Marion is a star in my eyes because of his all-around play.
“He’s a great rebounder and he does a lot of little things to help us win. But with those Big Three, they’ve got to score and make plays for us.”
Carlisle emphasized that other elements of the Mavs’ offense will surface from the play of his Big Three.
“The important thing is that Vince, Monta and Dirk, they don’t always have to score first,” Carlisle said. “Sometimes their presence on the floor and activity with the ball creates a problem for the defense, and it gets other guys shots.
“We need them to facilitate for us and in that process they’re going to be aggressive and they’re going to look to score and do their thing. They really have to do a lot of things for us.”
Marion belongs in Hall?
Carlisle described it as a tribute to Marion’s longevity and all-around skill that, at age 35, his name is on this year’s All-Star ballot.
“Go look at Marion’s stats, and look at them and tell me that he’s not a guy who should be considered as a Hall of Fame player for longevity,” Carlisle said. “He has great statistical accomplishments and also was a starter on [the Mavs’] world championship team [in 2011].
“I’m not surprised. I know that a lot of people have a lot of respect for him, and I know that in many ways he’s one of the most underrated players that there’s ever been in this game.”
Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Garnett, Karl Malone and Marion are the only players in NBA history with at least 16,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 1,500 steals and 1,000 blocks.
Marion played in the All-Star Game in 2003, ’05, ’06 and ’07.
Suspension drives Carter
Carter’s NBA-mandated one-game suspension for elbowing Oklahoma City’s Steve Adams in the head on Nov. 6 seems to have jump-started the 16-year veteran.
In the three games — not counting Saturday’s game in Orlando — since returning from his first career suspension, Carter increased his season-high point total in every game.
The 6-foot-6 forward tallied 13 points against Milwaukee on Nov. 9, 16 against Washington last Tuesday and 21 against Miami on Friday.
Carter also was 17 of 36 from the field, including 8 of 19 from 3-point range, since the suspension.
So, did the suspension have anything to do with Carter’s scoring outburst?
“It might have,” Carlisle said. “I know he felt bad about it. I know he felt guilty about it, and the next day in Milwaukee he was really ready to play a week ago tonight and he had a big game for us.”