DALLAS "Lost time," Benjamin Franklin said, "is never found again." In terms of minutes played by stars, much of the rest of the NBA isn't adhering to this philosophy. But the Dallas Mavericks and coach Rick Carlisle apparently share Mr. Franklin's values, which is why on Monday even in winning their seventh straight home game against the Suns, 93-87, Dallas once again kept a tight-as-Tupperware lid on players' minutes.
"The bottom line," Carlisle told me after the victory, "is that come April or May we want to be able to still walk around under our own power.''
"The Dirk-Out Workout'' period continued with 10-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki sidelined while engaging in special exercise sessions for what Carlisle had termed "the knee, conditioning and unresolved physical issues.'' And yes, that's one way to limit the wear and tear on a player who started the week leading the NBA in minutes played since 1999-2000. (Dirk is at 35,772; Kobe Bryant was at 35,741.)
But the limit on minute...