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Heat Vs. Mavericks, Game 6: Brendan Haywood Will Be Game-Time Decision In Potential NBA Finals Closeout

The saga of Dallas' frontcourt reserves is one of the NBA Finals' unsung subplots. And for the fourth straight game, it seems that Mavericks center Brendan Haywood's status won't be known until about tipoff.

ESPN Dallas reports that Haywood, who has been nursing a right hip flexor since sustaining it in Game 2, will be a game-time decision for Sunday night's Game 6. Haywood had been an effective backup to center Tyson Chandler throughout the NBA playoffs, but missed Games 3 and 5, and played just three minutes in Game 4.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has been able to cover for Haywood with both Ian Mahinmi and Brian Cardinal, and has been helped by Chandler upping his minutes. Chandler's 16-rebound performance in Game 4 was a big boost for Dallas, and Cardinal's four points and decent defense in just over nine minutes in Game 5 were a substantial contribution.

For more on the series, visit our 2011 NBA Finals hub. For more on the Heat, visit Peninsula Is Mightier. For more on the Mavericks, visit Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas.