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  • Forward Shawn Marion will return for the Mavs tonight after missing the past five games with a sprained MCL in his left knee. “It’s going to help,” said Coach Rick Carlisle. “It’s been almost two weeks since he played, so we’ve got to keep that in mind.” Though Marion will start, his minutes will be monitored.
  • Bankers Life Fieldhouse looks more like Reunion Arena tonight as five former Pacers players and coaches return with the Mavericks: Carlisle, assistant Jim O’Brien, point guard Darren Collison and reserve forwards Dahntay Jones and Troy Murphy. “We’re not going to change our team colors yet,” said Carlisle, who spent seven years with the Pacers as an assistant and head coach. “You always want to surround yourself with quality people.”
  • Collison has thrived as the Mavs’ starting point guard, averaging 14.3 points and 6.7 assists. After losing the starting job in Indiana to George Hill, he was dealt to Dallas with Jones for backup center Ian Mahinmi. “He has the opportunity to run the team, to be the trigger man for everything we do,” Carlisle said of Collison. “We want him to be aggressive both to score and to create opportunities for his teammates.”
  • Frank Vogel said he has maintained a strong relationship with O’Brien since replacing him as the Pacers’ head coach midway through the 2010-11 season. “All the way back to the Kentucky days (when both served with Rick Pitino), he groomed me to be a head coach,” Vogel said. “He’s a mentor in every sense of the word. The relationship is still very good. We talk often and when we di it’s like talking to my father or my brother.”
  • With the Pacers slumping through four losses in five games, Vogel said he will implement a “philosophical change” in the team’s offensive approach. “More speed, more player movement, more ball movement,” he said, “and we’ve got to get back to the fundamentals of our system.”

– Conrad Brunner

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