At least for a game, Samuel Dalembert has proven that he is mentally and physically back and prepared to be an impact player again for the Dallas Mavericks.
After not playing last Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks because he was mired in a slump, Dalembert was a key figure in the Mavericks’ 105-91 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
In just 13 minutes, Dalembert had eight points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
“His length had a massive impact on the game in the second half,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Well, 7-1 guys that are athletic and long aren’t growing on trees.
“If you can get a guy like that you’ve got to try and get him ready, he’s got to be ready and when the moment comes he’s got to step up to it, and he did that and it was great. He gave our team a lot of energy.”
The Mavs (15-10) hope Dalembert can energize them again at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they host the Toronto Raptors (9-14) at American Airlines Center.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki was impressed with Dalembert’s play against the Grizzlies.
“I like the lift that Sam gave us off the bench,” said Nowitzki, who scored a game-high 20 points against Memphis. “He’s been out of the lineup for a couple of games, but he was phenomenal.
“He got some blocks, he got some rebounds, he tried to go between his legs on the break one time. That was sweet. So he had it all.”
Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph was 4 of 12 from the field with 12 points and seven rebounds before Dalembert entered the game for the first time with 5:44 remaining in the third period. After that, Dalembert held Randolph to two points and two rebounds on 1-of-6 shooting.
“Randolph got going a little bit and I just decided to give Sam a shot and play him straight up,” Carlisle said. “We were doing a lot of fronting and double-teaming [before Dalembert entered the game], but it was leading to some open cutters and some open skip passes and we wanted to try and shut that off.”
A special day
Alvydas Pazdrazdis, a Lithuanian national who is the director of international scouting for the Mavs, will become a United States citizen during a naturalization ceremony in Dallas next month.
Pazdrazdis, 41, was a player on the Lithuanian national team that upset Russia to win the bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
A documentary named The Other Dream Team was released last year and highlighted the journey the ’92 Lithuanian men’s basketball team took to reach the Olympics and become icons in their country. Pazdrazdis can be seen in the film.
• The Mavericks are 10-2 in games in which they’ve allowed fewer than 100 points. The only losses occurred when they blew a 17-point lead and lost at Atlanta 88-87, and when they blew an 18-point lead and lost at Golden State 95-93.
• The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) met with nine teams this week. That includes a Thursday meeting with the Mavs after practice.