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Preseason Game 8: Mavs at Magic

It marked the end of the Dallas Mavericks’ exhibition schedule, but Friday night’s matchup against the Orlando Magic might have also signified the true closing of a chapter in point guard Jameer Nelson’s career.

Trying to engineer the Mavericks to one more preseason victory in a final tune-up before the regular season tips off Tuesday night in San Antonio, Nelson returned to face the franchise that he spent his first 10 NBA seasons with prior to migrating to Dallas during free agency this summer. Nelson then found himself in the visitors’ locker room at Amway Center for the first time prior to lining up against his former team in an emotional setting.

Nelson’s teammates then assured that his return was in fact a special night as the Mavericks ended preseason play with a 4-4 record after a 117-92 runaway victory.

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Preseason Game 7: Mavs at Pelicans

Before concluding preseason play on the second night of a back-to-back Friday in Orlando, the Dallas Mavericks will get a chance to grade themselves against a Southwest Division foe they’ll see four times during the regular season.

Before one final tuneup Friday against the Orlando Magic, the Mavericks (3-3) will try to build momentum for the regular-season opener in San Antonio next Tuesday. Traveling to Bossier City, La., the Mavs will first square off against the New Orleans Pelicans in their second-to-last exhibition matchup Thursday night.

And with the Pelicans (4-2) expected to challenge for Western Conference supremacy this season, the Mavericks will attempt to send a message to their divisional rival before the games begin to count in the standings.

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Veteran Richard Jefferson gives Mavs added dimension off bench

He wasn’t the most heralded of the Dallas Mavericks’ offseason additions, however, veteran swingman Richard Jefferson could prove to be one of the most valuable of the team’s newcomers this season.

Looking to supply depth at the small forward position behind starter Chandler Parsons, Jefferson will compete with third-year pro Jae Crowder and 24-year-old forward Al-Farouq Aminu for minutes. And if the preseason is a forecast for the future, the Mavericks (3-3) figure to have plenty of confidence when turning to their bench for minutes at the three spot during the regular season.

Through six preseason games, the 34-year-old Jefferson has been a pleasant surprise, showing that he’s still got plenty left in the tank entering his 14th season while averaging 10.2 points per outing. The versatile veteran will now try to build on his role with the Utah Jazz last season after starting 78 of his 82 appearances, coming to Dallas and looking to provide instant offense off the Mavs’ bench while playing both the shooting guard and small forward positions in coach Rick Carlisle’s system.

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Mavs’ potent offensive attack figures to be even better in ’14-15

With coach Rick Carlisle integrating a bevy of added dimensions to his team’s offensive attack this preseason, the Dallas Mavericks have already shown signs of being even more explosive during the 2014-15 campaign following the offseason additions of several key players.

Last season, the Mavericks finished ranked eighth in points per game while averaging 104.8 an outing. The Mavs also dished out 23.6 assists a game, ranking sixth in the league in the process. And although it’s still just the preseason, the Mavericks’ potent offensive attack is already serving notice across the NBA.

It all figures to lead to a more balanced attack this season, looking to supple 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki with plenty of assistance at the offensive end of the floor.

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Preseason Game 6: Mavs vs Grizzlies

Taking the court without the services of their top six players Saturday night on the road against the Indiana Pacers, the Dallas Mavericks still found a way to scratch and claw for four quarters.

Leading by as many as 14 against the Pacers’ top rotation players, the Mavericks’ second-teamers and roster hopefuls would eventually fall to a 98-93 defeat. However, despite sliding to 2-3 in preseason play while taking the court without their starting five and reserve guard Devin Harris, the Mavs returned home encouraged by what they saw.

Monday night, however, the Mavs’ first unit figures to again be intact while looking to pick up where it left off at Friday, when four of the five Dallas starters scored in double figures while handing the Eastern Conference favorite Cleveland Cavaliers a 108-102 defeat on their home floor.

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Preseason Game 5: Mavs at Pacers

After seeing his team give the Eastern Conference favorite its first loss of the exhibition season, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle awarded his top six players with a much-deserved day off.

Utilizing his starting five for the first time during Friday’s 108-102 win over Cleveland, Carlisle rested point guard Jameer Nelson, shooting guard Monta Ellis, small forward Chandler Parsons, 12-time All-Star power forward Dirk Nowitzki and center Tyson Chandler as the team looked to complete a back-to-back Saturday at Indiana. Carlisle also gave reserve guard Devin Harris the night off, looking to replicate Sunday’s 106-98 home win over the Pacers without the team’s top contributors.

But, even without their main rotation players, the Mavericks showed off their depth while competing for the better part of four quarters, eventually falling to 2-3 in preseason play following a 98-93 defeat.

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Preseason Game 4: Mavs at Cavaliers

Taking the court for the first time with their starting lineup intact, the Dallas Mavericks hoped to get a preseason measuring stick against one of the NBA’s highly-touted teams Friday night.

Welcoming back starting shooting guard Monta Ellis from a two-game hiatus with a sprained left knee, the Mavericks looked to keep the momentum going following Sunday’s 106-98 home win over the Indiana Pacers. Meanwhile, the Mavs made their first trip away from home in the preseason, taking on four-time MVP LeBron James and the Eastern Conference favorite Cleveland Cavaliers.

However, with ex-Mav Shawn Marion and Cavaliers All-Star big man Kevin Love both sitting out Friday’s outing to rest, the Mavericks wouldn’t get the Cleveland team at full strength. And with four of the five starters scoring in double figures, the Mavericks had little trouble moving to 2-2 in preseason play and handing the Cavaliers (4-1) their first loss following a 108-102 victory.

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Mavs welcome Jameer Nelson’s grit, toughness

Although it was just a small sample size, the Dallas Mavericks may have gotten a glimpse into what they can expect to see from veteran point guard Jameer Nelson this upcoming season during Sunday’s 106-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers to move to 1-2 in preseason play.

Clocking 24 minutes of work and scoring seven points on 3-of-6 shooting while also dishing out a team-high 10 assists in the win, Nelson looked comfortable in the first unit while playing alongside 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, fellow new additions Chandler Parsons and Richard Jefferson and center Tyson Chandler. Nelson also stepped up with the team’s leader in assists from a season ago, Monta Ellis, sidelined due to a sprained left knee. But, as Nelson explains, it was just the beginning of bigger things to come as the 10-year pro grows more and more comfortable in his new surroundings.

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Jae Crowder looks to fill void of Mavs’ departing veterans

Although he’s yet to fully carve his own niche in the NBA since entering the league as the 34th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Dallas Mavericks third-year pro Jae Crowder has gradually began to tap into his potential.

The 6-foot-6 versatile swingman has been used in a multitude of ways by Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle through his first two seasons, playing in 78 games in both campaigns while providing production off the Dallas bench. This season, however, the 24-year-old appears ready to step into his own role and out of the shadows of his departing mentors, attempting to fill the void left by Shawn Marion and Vince Carter in free agency.

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