Nothing can break open a game like production from reserve players. We saw it in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals and it was the reason the Bulls routed the Heat. And for the Mavericks in their series clinching win over the Lakers, it was as apparent as it could ever be.
The depth of Dallas hasn’t really been taken seriously all season, until the playoffs; then everyone sort of remembered at once, “Hey Dallas has a lot of talent on their roster.” Give Rick Carlisle a lot of credit for knowing how to use his entire roster and at what point to make substitutions because that awareness has keyed several playoff victories.
During the regular season the Mavericks had 12 players currently on their playoff roster average 10+ minutes per game. Since the playoffs began that number has been pared back to nine players averaging 10+ minutes a game, but they are getting even more production. While the starting lineup of Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion and DeShawn Stevenson has started in each of the ten playoff games the Mavs have played there are four key components that come off the bench and spark the team in different ways.
Terry, perennially a sixth man of the year candidate, has stepped up his production even further in the playoffs. During the season he averaged 15.8 ppg 4.1 apg, 1.1 spg, shooting 45% from the floor and was hitting three’s at a .36% clip. In the playoffs, he’s averaging 18.3 ppg, 3.8 apg, 1.1 spg, shooting 52% from the floor and is shooting 50% from three point land (22 of 44).
Known more to this point as the guy who is dating Miss Puerto Rico, he has also garnered some notoriety thanks to Andrew Bynum’s hard foul in the game four victory over the Lakers. Though his minutes have been cut slightly in the post season (20.6 vs. 17.8), he’s still almost equaling his regular season averages of 9.5 ppg, 3.9 apg and 2.0 rpg. Another thing he brings to the floor is energy; whenever Dallas needs a spark, Barea is inserted into the game.
Stojakovic has really stepped up his production in the postseason, part of it stemming from an increase in minutes (20.3 vs. 24.3) which I think is because he finally found a groove he could never consistently get in during the regular season. From averaging 8.6 ppg and hitting three pointers 40% of the time during the year, he’s averaging 10.7 ppg and hitting 46% of his shots from downtown.
At 7-1 and known as more a defensive specialist, a lot of what Haywood contributes cannot be quantified by stats. Even though he’s only playi9ng 17.2 mpg, Haywood leads the team in blocks (1.2 per game) and is the fourth leading rebounder (5.4 rpg) though he’s played about half as many minutes as the guys in front of him.
image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison