By Crystal Vasquez
With 1:01 left in the first quarter in Monday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Coach Rick Carlisle made a substitution for Monta Ellis that got fans cheering. Twenty-one-year-old rookie guard Shane Larkin took to the court for the first time in his NBA career.
Larkin underwent right ankle surgery in July after injuring it at a Summer League practice. He told the media after shoot around this morning he wasn’t sure if he’d play in tonight’s game, but approval from the trainers allowed Larkin to hear his name announced to the sell-out crowd at the American Airlines Center for the first time.
“That was a great feeling, just to hear them applaud when I was walking to the bench,” Larkin said. “We have one of the best fan bases in all of basketball and we sell out almost every game. And just to be able to gain their respect, to gain their confidence in me, to hear them cheer for me like that was just a good feeling inside, and that makes me want to play harder for them.”
Larkin made an immediate impact off the bench. He stole the ball off a Lavoy Allen pass and drew a foul on Evan Turner all in less than 30 seconds.
“I was on the free throw line in my first NBA game. When I was dribbling I was nervous. I was like oh I got to make these,” Larkin said.
Larkin finished the night with three points, three assists, three steals and no turnovers in his 8:35 of play. His quickness did not go unnoticed.
“He [Larkin] looked really fast out there, and obviously that’s what we need, some quickness backing up Jose,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “He looked good. I thought he tried to play within himself… he’s got a lot of catching up to do, but he definitely has a lot of potential.”
Coach Carlisle also spoke highly of Larkin’s NBA debut.
“I thought he did very well considering it’s his first live action in a real game,” Carlisle said. “It’s the beginning of a process, but I like what he did.”
Larkin wasn’t only quick on the court, he was quick to find a seat by his new locker after the game to greet the media with a contagious smile.
“There are so many things going on. Your adrenaline is pumping, your first NBA game, you’re excited, nervous, butterflies, everything,” Larkin said. “It was a great experience, but I’m looking forward to more.”
Read it on Mavs.com