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Mavericks plan to play Nowitzki, Carter about the same minutes as last season

Sep 30, 2013, 5:19 PM EDT

Vince Carter AP

Last season Vince Carter played just less than 26 minutes per game for Dallas, the season before almost the same. For a player who will turn 37 this season is that too many?

And what should Dallas do with Dirk Nowitzki who played more than 31 minutes a game last season and will be age 35 this season?

The idea is to keep them under control but coach Rick said he plans to play them the same as last season — Nowitzki in the “low 30s” and Carter in the mid-20s, reports Bryan Gutierrez out of Dallas’ media day.

I don’t think we need to rehash how key Nowitzki is to the Mavericks. Dallas got good production out of Carter last season — 13.4 points and 4.1 rebounds a game, and he shot 40.6 percent from three.

Dallas was a scrappy team when healthy last season and the people in Dallas think with this roster (they added Monta Ellis for scoring) they can scrap their way into the playoffs. Maybe, but the bottom of the West is crowded with teams in their range such as the Timberwolves, Lakers, Trail Blazers and Pelicans. Dallas doesn’t have much margin for error.

So they better hope those minutes don’t wear two key players down. It probably will not — Carter played about this many minutes a game for a few years and only missed one game last season, while Nowitzki takes care of himself like few players in the league. But it’s something to watch.

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