DALLAS — Despite beginning preseason play on a sour note following a 94-92 loss on their home floor to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Dallas Mavericks did walk off the hardwood Monday night with plenty to show for their first week of work in training camp.
Tuesday, the team returned to the practice court, vowing to improve on their play in the second exhibition outing when the Mavericks (0-1) travel to Memphis for a matchup against the Southwest Division rival Grizzlies. And if the Mavs are to savor their first taste of victory, correcting the miscues that led to 28 turnovers in the loss to New Orleans will go a long way, according to coach Rick Carlisle.
“We’ve got to reiterate the importance of ball security and you’ve got to drill it,” Carlisle said after his team wrapped up practice before boarding a flight to Memphis. “You drill it with transition drills and just continuing to stress the importance of taking care of the ball. And so we’ve set ourselves up to make big improvements and tomorrow is one of the toughest teams to play, because Memphis really does a great job of turning you over. So we’ll see where we’re at tomorrow.”
Last season, the Grizzlies (0-1) finished No. 1 in the NBA in points allowed while surrendering just 89.3 points to opposing offenses. That means the Dallas offense will have to be at full capacity while playing minus projected starting point guard Jose Calderon as he is slated to miss the next two preseason outings before having his strained left hamstring re-evaluated.
Meanwhile, the Mavs hope to once again see the ball go in the net with regularity while cutting down on their turnovers, falling to a narrow defeat Monday night despite connecting on 50 percent as a team from the field.
“We’ve got some weapons on this team,” four-time All-Star Shawn Marion said. “I think last night we were a little careless with the ball and we gave the candy away a little too much last night, but at the same time it was just our first game. I think with four days of practice and training camp we’ve got this whole month to get better. Every game is going to be a different matchup and different test for us. Tomorrow is going to be a great test for us. We’ve got a team that’s probably top two or three teams in defense, maybe No. 1 in defense last year, and they’ve just got a lot of different assets over there. They’re a real physical team and it’s going to be a real test for us tomorrow. We’ve got to go over there and see what we can do, get our legs under us and take care of the ball a little better.”