Dallas Mavericks center Nerlens Noel didn't see the floor Saturday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and head coach Rick Carlisle had a simple explanation for why the springy center was left on the bench.

"Minutes are earned," he said after the Mavericks' 111-104 loss, according to ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon.

Noel's benching came one game after he saw what was then a season-low six minutes in a 113-99 win over the Washington Wizards.

Instead of rolling with Noel, Carlisle allotted backup playing time to Salah Mejri—who logged 25 minutes against the Wizards and 10 against the Cavaliers.

Through five games this month, Noel is playing an average of just 10 minutes per game, which is down from a mark of 19.5 in October.