DALLAS – One reason Al-Farouq Aminu has been a huge plus/minus player for the Dallas Mavericks lately is because he’s finally picked up the intricate details of the team’s offense.
That knowledge was on full display during Friday’s 111-100 victory over the Houston Rockets as Aminu finished with season highs in points (17) and rebounds (12), and also picked up the only two block shots the Mavs had on the night. It was the kind of effort the Mavs were longing for from Aminu, who played the previous four seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Coach Rick Carlisle had exercised patience while waiting for Aminu to show the explosiveness he showed at times with the Pelicans. But Carlisle defended Aminu by saying: "Our offense is completely different than the teams he’s been with.
"New Orleans was more of a medium tempo execution team. We’re a free-flowing kind of a fewer-plays-called-the-better-type team.’’
That change in concepts took a minute for Aminu to absorb.
"It’s vastly different, and it’s a different mindset,’’ Carlisle said. "The difference this year is that he’s playing two positions on a regular basis, and it did take a while for him to learn both.
"Not only did he go from different systems at two positions, which are considerable different, but it’s a different type of play.’’
With Chandler Parsons spraining his left ankle early in the fourth quarter, Aminu filled in and scored eight key points which helped stave off a furious rally by the Rockets.
"I don’t want to say they scramble the game, but it was random and they moved things around a lot and it was hard to anticipate what they were going to do, but we have to stick to our principles,’’ Aminu said. "And listen to what the coaches tell us.
"We just need to be a little more sound, and coach came to the huddle and said we need to be aggressive if they’re going to play that kind of defense. We were trying to set up the offense, but when the game is going how it was, we just need to attack the rim.’’
Aminu played 30 minutes and was 6-of-11 from the field, and also grabbed a game-high tying five offensive rebounds while registering his first double-double of the season. The five-year veteran seized the moment when Parsons limped to the locker room for good with 8:15 left in the game.
"He’s one of our hardest workers,’’ Carlisle said of Aminu. "I was in here early this morning and he was in here at 10 o’clock shooting and working on his game and getting ready for tonight.
"It’s great to see a guy like that have success, because he’s working hard at it.’’