After the Mavericks’ shootaround Sunday both Brendan Haywood and Rick Carlisle called Haywood a game-time decision for Sunday night’s Game 3 in Dallas. Haywood had to leave Game 2 late because of a hip flexor.
While Haywood hasn’t played heavy minutes or posted big numbers – he’s averaged just 11 minutes, 2.5 points and 3.5 rebounds – during the finals, his presence offers insurance against starting center Tyson Chandler finding himself in foul trouble and allows Dallas to maintain a basket defender on the court at all times. Without him they could turn to Ian Mahinmi, though Mahinmi has played a total of six minutes in these playoffs.
They could also use smaller lineups, though the last stretch during which Dallas went without a center was the early part of the fourth quarter in Game two. They found the lead stretched from four to 15 points during those five minutes. They went back to Chandler and immediately began their comeback.