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Utah Jazz: Rodrigue Beaubois provides spark for Mavericks

Published January 20, 2012 12:12 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

JJ Barea is gone, now a sparkplug for the Minnesota Timberwolves and merely a memory of a past championship for the Dallas Mavericks.

And who would've thought the Mavs, with all of their stars, with one of the best players in the world in Dirk Nowitzki, would miss Barea this much early in the condensed season?

That's been the reality for Dallas. And more so, the Mavericks have been counting on Rodrigue Beaubois to pick up where Barea left off. At times, it's happened. At times, the small point guard has struggled mightily.

Wouldn't it be Utah's luck that Thursday night was one of the former instances. Before a TNT national audience, before a rocking sellout crowd at EnergySolutions Arena, Beaubois came off the bench and torched the Jazz for 17 points in Dallas' 94-91 win.

To put it in perspective, he played only 18 minutes.

"He was sensational tonight," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "He didn't play well last night against the Clippers, and tonight he kind of came out and evened the score. He got into the lane, and he made some things happen on both ends of the floor. I can't say enough about his performance tonight."

What Beaubois did was put pressure on the Jazz defense. He penetrated off the dribble and hit floaters over Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. He made shots from 3-point range. He was disruptive defensively. He used his athleticism, despite his small frame, to finish at the rim.

It was exactly what the Mavericks needed on Thursday night. Vince Carter wasn't in uniform because he was nursing a sprained left foot. Jason Terry was 3-for-14 from the field. Nowitzki is still getting into game shape. Jason Kidd had six turnovers to go with his 11 assists.

With Dallas playing its third game in as many nights, it was a veteran crew in dire need of fresh legs, and Beaubois was willing and able to come through.

"It means a lot to play well when they call on me," Beaubois said. "Management wants me in that Barea role, and that means they have confidence in me. I have to come out and play well every night that I'm in the game."

Talent hasn't been the issue with Beaubois. But consistency has. That is where Barea set himself apart, especially in a playoff run that culminated with a title. Carlisle knew what he was getting when he inserted Barea into the game. Beaubois has struggled with that, and as a result his minutes have been spotty. In games like the one he played against the Jazz, he was a major piece. In other games, he's been an afterthought.

There's a strong argument to be made, however, that the Mavericks would never have beaten the Jazz on Thursday night if it weren't for Beaubois. Whether this is the start of a trend or just one good game will be the burning question.





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