Heat Vs. Mavericks, Game 4: J.J. Barea To Start Over DeShawn Stevenson, Brian Cardinal Liberated

J.J. Barea with start in place of DeShawn Stevenson for the Dallas Mavericks in its Game 3 battle against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, reports Alex Kennedy. In addition, Brian "Dad" Cardinal (not to be confused with former Maverick Anthony "Dad" Johnson) will be in front of Peja Stojakovic in the Mavs' rotation.

The shake-up is a bit stunning, as Stevenson is the only Maverick who has had any bit of success guarding Dwyane Wade in the NBA Finals. Jason Kidd will move over to check Wade, who is averaging 29 points per game on 56 percent shooting in the series. While Rick Carlisle has played Barea substantial minutes when Wade is in the game, it hasn't exactly worked. You saw Wade's numbers. He's scorching Kidd.

Barea's offense has been abysmal in the Finals; he's shot just 5-23 from the floor (21.7 percent) and has five assists in 51 minutes. Carlisle may be betting that Barea could punish Heat starting point guard Mike Bibby or make Wade work harder than the offensively-limited Stevenson can.

The Cardinal ascension is just odd; the wily veteran known affectionately as The Custodian for his penchant for dirty work at the expense of skilled plays will likely look to keep Miami off-balance and provide help defense at the rim. But Corey Brewer is reputed as a decent defender at the small forward, and languishes on the bench. (He has zero seconds of action in the Finals.) He's an option Carlisle seems oddly opposed against trying.

For more on the Mavs, visit Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas.

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