After not having much success on the court with the Dallas Mavericks, Shane Larkin has been able to use the National Basketball Development League to his advantage.
In four games with the Frisco-based Texas Legends, Larkin is averaging 15.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game. That includes 21 points and 11 assists during Friday’s 139-120 win over the Maine Red Claws.
“I’m more comfortable playing down there, more comfortable with the guys, so when I go down there it’s a better vibe and I just go down there and just play my game,” Larkin said. “I just go down there with the mindset of controlling the game and getting my teammates involved.”
A rookie from Miami, Larkin has been playing catch-up all season since fracturing his right foot in July before the Mavs left to play in the Las Vegas Summer League. The D-League has been a godsend for Larkin.
“Every time I go down there I don’t really want to just jack shots and score 40 and shoot 27 times,” Larkin said. “I try to be efficient, I try to get everybody involved as if I was playing up here [with the Mavs].”
While Larkin was effective with the Legends, the Mavs’ other rookie, Gal Mekel, wasn’t so fortunate. During Saturday’s 114-89 loss to the Tulsa 66ers, Mekel played a game-high 38 minutes off the bench and finished with 14 points and six assists.
Mekel, who has had trouble shooting the ball, was just 5-of-17 from the field, including 0-of-3 from 3-point range. And the Legends were minus-21 when he was on the court.
Starting with Monday night’s game against the Boston Celtics, the Mavs will play their next eight games at home.
It’s the longest homestand in team history.
“I’m going to enjoy it,” forward Shawn Marion said. “We’ve been traveling a lot.
“A lot of trips we’ve been going were like one or two games. But it’s time for us to get some home games. We’ve just been living out of our suitcases.”
The Mavs last had a seven-game homestand from Dec. 2-15, 2008. They went 5-2 with wins over the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix, Atlanta, Charlotte and Oklahoma City, and losses to San Antonio and Denver.
Coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged the importance of having center Samuel Dalembert playing his best basketball the rest of the season.
“His presence defensively is a big part of any success that we have,” Carlisle said. “When he’s in rim protector mode and patrolling the lane and is able to stay in games and keep fouls out of the equation, he’s a high impact guy for us.”
Dalembert is averaging 6.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game this season.