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Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle weighs in on Dirk's ejection against the Rockets, Monta Ellis' performance throughout the preseason and more.

DALLAS — Although his team will have an opportunity to face an opponent one week before opening the regular season against the very same foe, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle isn’t focused on sending a message to the opposition.

Instead, with the Atlanta Hawks invading American Airlines Center for Wednesday night’s exhibition showdown, Carlisle is more concerned with seeing his team improve 48 hours after sliding to 3-3 in preseason play following a 100-95 loss in Houston.

Although the Hawks (1-5) will be without All-Star big man Al Horford (hamstring) and new addition Paul Millsap (achilles), the Mavs will still try to take something from Wednesday night’s outing that they can build upon Opening Night. And with the season opener in the back of his mind, the coach prepared his team to come out firing on all cylinders regardless of the opponent.

“Look, it’s a game and we’re two games from the real start. They’re not going to have a lot of their guys it sounds like, so we’ve just got to play our game,” Carlisle said following his team’s Wednesday morning walkthrough. “The advantage really is for them. I mean, they get to play in our arena, they get to play us and we get to see a lot of their guys. But as far as overanalyzing it, that’s not what this is about I don’t think. You know, we’ve got to compete hard and we’ve got to do better than we did the other night in Houston. We didn’t play well there.”

Despite suffering the loss to the Rockets Monday night, the Mavs did show glimpses of good things to come as the team’s starting lineup took the court together for the first time. With just two exhibition games remaining, however, the Mavs will look to continue the jelling process while also gearing up for the regular season, which will tip off when the Hawks return to Big D next Wednesday.

“There’s a few benefits,” forward Shawn Marion said of facing the Hawks a week before the season opener. “You can see what kind of situations they put out there and what kind of lineups they put out there to see what’s what and see what kind of defensive strategies they have.”

Note: The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.