Rick Carlisle steadily increasing rookie Shane Larkin’s minutes

Rookie Shane Larkin entered Wednesday’s game with 1:40 left in the first quarter and played solidly, contributing a first-half assist, drawing a charge and, more important, committing no turnovers in five minutes.

After two straight games in which he didn’t play, Larkin has earned playing time in the last three games because, according to Carlisle, he’s practiced well and provided energy when he enters games.

After fracturing his right ankle in the summer, Larkin didn’t play in his first game until Nov. 18. News that Devin Harris’ return from a foot injury has been delayed, it puts the onus on backup point guards Larkin and Gal Mekel to contribute quality minutes.

“He’s behind the curve because he got such a late start,” Carlisle said of Larkin. “He’s cramming for an exam. It’s kind of like that.”

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