Dallas Mavericks

Mavericks coach trying all combinations with playoffs in peril

The Dallas Mavericks and guard Deron Williams, left, are trying to find any way around Andrew Bogut, the Golden State Warriors and their NBA foes. Dallas is clinging to a playoff spot.
The Dallas Mavericks and guard Deron Williams, left, are trying to find any way around Andrew Bogut, the Golden State Warriors and their NBA foes. Dallas is clinging to a playoff spot. Special to the Star-Telegram

With the season now at an urgent stage for the Dallas Mavericks, coach Rick Carlisle sounded apologetic for having his starting lineup and rotation all over the map.

“We’re in an all-hands-on deck, all-out adjustment mode,” Carlisle said before Friday’s game against the Golden State Warriors. “The nature of our roster is such that we are at this point because we are, and our guys understand it.

“I give them credit. It’s not easy, but I don’t feel we have a choice.”

The Mavs don’t have a choice because they were 34-34 before playing Golden State and in danger of missing the playoffs for the second time in the past four years.

Thus, for the third straight game Friday night, the Mavs went with a small, three-guard lineup, replacing center Zaza Pachulia with guard Raymond Felton in the lineup.

If shuffling the starting lineup and going with his gut is what Carlisle has to do to get the season turned around, that’s what he’s going to convey to his team.

“The first couple of years we had a revolving door at the starting [shooting guard] spot,” Carlisle said. “We had years where our center position could change on a nightly basis based on matchups.

“I don’t like those situations because I am a former player, and I know players like certainty. But that’s not the world we live in right now.”

“I like for there to be as much certainty as possible,” Carlisle said. “But it’s just not possible right now.”

Rock star Warriors

When the Warriors roll into town, it’s a special event.

Everyone and everybody wants to be there to see Stephen Curry and the defending NBA champions.

Right now by NBA standards this is bigger than the Rolling Stones on tour.

Rick Carlisle on the Warriors

“Right now by NBA standards this is bigger than the Rolling Stones on tour,” Carlisle said. “These guys, wherever they go, there is a mass of people and a huge following.”

Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls had monster followings during their history-making 72-10 record in the 1995-96 season. But it wasn’t as engaging as what the Warriors are experiencing.

Michael [Jordan] was a celebrity, but it wasn’t like he was going on the court and do a specific warmup.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban, comparing the buzz around the Warriors and Stephen Curry to Jordan’s Bulls

“There was no social media, there was no YouTube,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said, referring to the Bulls’ glory days. “Michael was a celebrity, but it wasn’t like he was going on the court and doing a specific warmup.

“This is the social media world cashing in.”

That kind of attention happens when a team like the Warriors starts the season 61-6 — the best start for any team after 67 games.

“They’ve earned that kind of attention whether they like it or not,” Carlisle said. “When you get 55 games above .500 with 15 left in the season, you’re doing something special.”

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice

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