Mavericks backup center Brendan Haywood was inactive for Game 3 of the NBA finals Sunday night because of a hip injury, bumping third-string center Ian Mahinmi into the No. 2 role and putting speedy second-year guard Rodrigue Beaubois on the active roster.
Haywood was injured late in Game 2 against the Miami Heat. He left the court and went straight to the locker room with a strained right hip flexor. With two days off between games, he was hoping to be ready but arrived at the arena still feeling tight.
"Hopefully I'll be ready for Game 4," Haywood said. "I'm very optimistic because I've seen a lot of progression. It's gotten better every day. But it's just about, `Can you go out there and do the things necessary to help the team?"'
The 7-footer scored five points in the first two games, but played a solid role in backing up starter Tyson Chandler. That duty shifted to Mahinmi, who'd played a total of six minutes over three games this postseason.
"Ian needs to give that energy and desire and fire and passion he shows in practice," Haywood said. "Everybody in this team is very confident in his ability. We know that all he needs is an opportunity."
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Mahinmi "will most likely play some minutes, and then there's a possibility we could look at some other lineups that would be obviously smaller."
"We're going to have to adjust," Carlisle said.
Beaubois was a first-round pick last year who dazzled at times his rookie season, such as scoring 16 points in 20 minutes of a playoff game against San Antonio. The Mavs were counting on him to play a big role this season, but he broke his left foot last summer while playing for the French national team and wasn't able to play until February.
Although he started 26 games down the stretch, he wasn't able to get into a groove. Carlisle gave Beaubois' starting job to DeShawn Stevenson in the season finale and, that same night, Beaubois sprained his left foot. He's been active only once this postseason and didn't play.
"I just want to be ready if they call my name," Beaubois said. "I can go, I can go. I'll go out there and not think about (his foot)."