Game 3: Mavs at Rockets

Game 2: Mavs vs. Kings

Yogi To Mejri

Yogi Ferrell throws the alley-oop to Salah Mejri for the slam.

Mavs left their home court with plenty of lessons learned after season-opening loss

DALLAS — It was supposed to be the beginning of the Dallas Mavericks’ home-court dominance this season, hosting an upstart Atlanta Hawks team in the first matchup of the grueling 82-game schedule. However, after suffering a hard-fought 117-111 loss on their home floor Wednesday night, the Mavericks (0-1) were admittedly left scratching their heads as they exited the court.

Beginning the ’17-18 season with back-to-back home games, the Mavs hoped to establish an advantage at American Airlines Center after going just 21-20 on their own court last year. The Mavericks also believed they could begin the season with a dominance performance in front of their fans after going 33-49 last season and missing the playoffs. Instead, the Mavericks would come up short after rallying back from a double-digit deficit in the first half. And despite an impressive showing from first-round draft pick Dennis Smith Jr. to become the youngest player to record a double-double with points and assists in his debut game, the Mavs know they’ll need to bounce back Friday night against the Sacramento Kings.

“I gave 100 percent effort and we didn’t win, so we’re looking forward to the game Friday and getting our first win of the season,” the 19-year-old Smith said after scoring 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, grabbing three rebounds and dishing 10 assists during Wednesday’s loss. “Rebounding, I didn’t contribute enough, and that was a focal point coming into the game. I didn’t do my part on that, so we’ll watch film and we look to bounce back Friday.

“We’ve got each other’s backs,” he added. “You know, even with a loss, we stuck together like we were supposed to, and nobody was pointing fingers. And like I said, we’re a team that’s ready to bounce back from any loss.”

Shouldering the bulk of the scoring load in his first game, Smith would see the Mavs’ top scorers from last season — versatile forward Harrison Barnes and 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki — combine for just 7-of-27 shooting from the field. Meanwhile, the Mavericks were outscored by 18 when Nowitzki was on the floor, leading the ageless superstar to take responsibility for the loss. However, after watching the Mavericks rally to tie the score at 111-all on Barnes’ fast-break score with 1:13 left to play, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle attributed the defeat to fatigue after working to erase the first-half deficit.

Led by point guard Dennis Schroder’s 16 first-half points on 7-of-16 shooting, the Hawks outshot the Mavericks through two quarters, 49 percent to 34.1 percent, while building a 58-47 advantage on the scoreboard. The Hawks also held a 31-22 rebounding advantage at the halftime intermission, forcing the Mavs into seven turnovers in the first 24 minutes of play. All told, the Hawks outshot the Mavericks for the game, 51.1 percent to 44.2 percent, ending the night with a 50-41 rebounding advantage. And after seeing the visiting Hawks convert Dallas’ 16 turnovers into 19 points, Carlisle and Nowitzki agreed that the Mavericks will need to put together a better performance for 48 minutes Friday night.

“We got ourselves in too big a hole,” Carlisle explained. “You know, an 11-point halftime deficit at home in the first game is just one of those things. It’s not easy to dig out. You spend a lot of energy digging out of a hole, and then getting over the hump becomes even more difficult. … The thing I can’t live with is the fact that we didn’t do a good job in the effort areas. That’s on me. I didn’t have these guys prepared enough to play.”

“That was a tough loss. We’ve got to find a way to win that one at home,” Nowitzki admitted after scoring 10 points during a 4-of-14 shooting performance. “I felt like every time we were right there, we made a mistake or a bad turnover, gave up an offensive rebound or had a shot-clock violation. Just every time we were right there, we just couldn’t get over the hump. You just can’t give up layups like that in the fourth. I think Schroder did a great job driving, but somebody has got to be there. Somehow you’ve got to make him beat you over the top and not just lay the ball in. So, we made a couple of mistakes, and we paid for it.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Friday against the Sacramento Kings. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out
Gian Clavell (G-League) — not with the team
Johnathan Motley (G-League) — not with the team

Game 1: Mavs vs. Hawks

Postgame: Dennis Smith Jr.

Dennis Smith Jr. dishes on his first regular-season game in a Mavericks uniform.

Mavs’ style of play, effort will excite fans this season, team owner Mark Cuban says

State of the Mavs: Mark Cuban

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban explains why the team is poised to surprise a lot of people this season.

DALLAS — After suffering his first losing season during the 2016-17 NBA campaign since agreeing to purchase on Jan. 4, 2000, team owner Mark Cuban fully expects the squad to bounce back during the upcoming 82-game schedule.

Seeing 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki miss 25 of the team’s first 30 games last season due to a right Achilles strain, Cuban watched helplessly as the Mavericks got off to a slow start before rallying to finish the year with a 33-49 record. The owner now expects the Mavs to rely on their continuity to learn from those downfalls, returning 11 players from last year’s team. And while watching rookie first-round draft pick Dennis Smith Jr. integrate himself into the fold during preseason play, Cuban says he expects Mavericks fans to fall in love with the team’s style of play this season.

“I mean, we’re super excited about the season,” Cuban said while addressing the Dallas media on Monday. “I mean, obviously, there’s continuity for the first time in a long time where guys had a chance to play together last year and become better. But now, going into the season versus last year, everybody has got a better understanding of their roles. Harrison (Barnes) didn’t know what to expect. Now, we know he can be our go-to guy, particularly. Dirk obviously is Dirk, and he’s going to get us buckets. You’ve got Yogi (Ferrell) more comfortable. You’ve got [Dorian Finney-Smith], you’ve got Wes (Matthews) and you’ve got Seth (Curry) more comfortable, and I think that’s going to pay off dividends. I think the key to this team isn’t our talent, but it’s our effort. If we are one of, if not the hardest-playing team in the NBA, we’re going to have a good year. If we don’t keep up that effort, then it will be more of a challenge for us. We’ve got young guys for the most part, other than grandpa [Nowitzki], and we’re going to be athletic, we’re going to be fast and we’re going to be intense. I think fans are going to love just a bunch of good, good guys with good hearts that love the game. I think chemistry is going to pay off for us, and we all want to see what Dennis can do. I mean, we’re all excited to see him.”

Hoping Nowitzki can return to an elite form during his 20th season with the franchise, Cuban also expects the Mavericks’ supporting cast to elevate its play this year. Meanwhile, the owner hopes Smith can slide into the lineup and immediately evaluate a Dallas team that ranked near the bottom of the NBA in every major offensive category.

Last season, the Mavericks ranked 30th in the league in scoring while posting just 97.9 points per game as a team. Dallas also dished out just 20.8 assists an outing as a team, ranking 27th in that department. Meanwhile, the Mavs played at the second-to-last slowest pace in the league. But according to Cuban, that figures to change this season with Smith at the point.

“I’m excited about this team. I really am. I think we’re young, energetic, athletic and exciting. And Dirk leading the way is always key,” Cuban proclaimed.

“I mean, seeing us go and watching Dennis, it’s funny. When guys come in the league for the first time and they play with Dirk, they watch some of the shots he makes in the game. You just see them smile and shake their head, and you’re seeing the same thing now with Dennis. You see it with Harrison,” he added. “You know, with Dennis, he’ll go up, and there will be an athletic 7-footer who’s a shot-blocker, and Dennis gets up higher. And I think the other thing that he hasn’t really harnessed it yet is Dennis is fast. I mean, he’s easily the fastest guy on the team, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s the fastest guy end line to end line in the NBA. So, I think once he learns to harness that speed, watching him get a rebound and go coast to coast, fans are going to be fired up.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Wednesday for the regular-season opener against the Atlanta Hawks. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (rest) — out

Mavs look to turn page on preseason play, turning attention to Wednesday’s season opener

DALLAS — Despite finishing the preseason with a bitter taste after suffering a 111-96 defeat on the road Friday night in Charlotte, the Dallas Mavericks believe they accomplished a lot during the exhibition schedule prior to Wednesday night’s season opener against Atlanta.

Opening up the 2017-18 regular season Wednesday at home against the Hawks, the Mavericks will try to hit the ground running towards a return to the playoffs. The Mavs will also attempt to build on things they found success with during the preseason after finishing the six-game exhibition schedule with a 4-2 record. And according to leading scorer Harrison Barnes, the Mavs will now try to flip a switch before attempting to bounce back from a 33-49 record last season.

“I think we accomplished a lot,” Barnes said while summing up the preseason following Friday’s loss. “We got a chance to definitely get our conditioning in, get a feel and let guys get a rhythm. I think (Thursday’s 108-94 win in Atlanta) was good for our young guys, and (Friday night) was good for our vets to go out there and just play together. And I think we have enough of a base to go out there on Wednesday.”

Showing glimpses of clicking on all cylinders when the full complement of players were available, the Mavericks averaged 95.3 points per game this preseason to rank 27th in the NBA. The Mavs also connected on 42.7 percent from the field as a team, ranking 26th in the league in that department. The Dallas team will now attempt to build on what it did successfully during the preseason as the games begin to count in the standings. That said, Friday’s loss will serve as motivation to play at a high level on a nightly basis.

Trailing 28-27 after the first quarter, the Mavs fought back to take a 56-54 edge into the halftime intermission Friday night. However, the Mavericks weren’t able to carry that success over to the second half, outscored by the Hornets 57-40 in the final two quarters. And after shooting just 32.6 percent from the field in the second half of Friday’s loss, the Mavs will attempt to put together a full 48 minutes during Wednesday’s matchup.

“I think that was good for us to come out and lose like that, even with our vets on the team as well,” rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. said after Friday’s loss. “You know, we don’t want to think anything is sweet going into the regular season. We just got whooped by the Hornets, who’s a good team, so it was a reality check. You know, we’ve got to come out and compete.”

All told, seven Hornets scored in double figures while outshooting the Mavs for the game Friday night, 49.4 percent to 41.2 percent. Charlotte also added a 50-37 rebounding advantage, overshadowing its 22 turnovers. And after allowing the Hornets to shoot 17 of 30 from beyond the three-point arc, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confesses that his team will have to be better defensively Wednesday night against the Hawks.

“Well, on an overall basis, I wasn’t pleased with how we played in Charlotte. I think we were a little detached,” Carlisle explained. “We gave up a lot of threes, and we had breakdowns. Once the real games come and Atlanta comes in here on Wednesday, you know, it’s going to be a different world. They’re going to be a hungry, young and opportunistic team that spaces the floor and shoots the heck out of the three, and we’re going to have to be a (heck) of a lot better than we were against Charlotte.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Oct. 18 for the regular-season opener against the Atlanta Hawks. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (rest) — out

2017 Preseason Game 6: Mavs at Hornets

2017 Preseason Game 5: Mavs at Hawks

Game Recap: Mavericks 108, Hawks 94

Gian Clavell puts up 19 points off the bench as the Mavericks cruise past the Hawks, 108-94.

Despite win over Orlando, Mavs know starting five must be better as regular season approaches

DALLAS — Despite capturing a 99-96 victory Monday night against Orlando to improve to 3-1 in preseason play, the Dallas Mavericks know they still have plenty of work to do before the regular-season opener at home against Atlanta on Oct. 18.

Playing the first game without combo guard Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia), Mavs coach Rick Carlisle utilized a starting lineup of rookie Dennis Smith Jr., second-year guard Yogi Ferrell, swingman Wesley Matthews, leading scorer Harrison Barnes and 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki. The team then got off to a sluggish start against the shorthanded Orlando squad before rallying to take a 30-26 lead into the second quarter behind the play of the Dallas reserves. All told, the Mavericks outshot the Magic for the game, 43.8 percent to 41.4 percent. The Mavs also ended the night with a 48-44 rebounding edge, converting the Magic’s 18 turnovers into 15 points. But with Nowitzki the only starter that finish with a positive plus-minus, Carlisle admits that more will be asked of the first unit going forward.

“Well, if you look at our plus-minus, most of our starters were minuses. And it’s not Yogi’s fault, but that unit didn’t play particularly great,” Carlisle explained. “Some of those guys did some good things. I thought our second unit played better. And the numbers, I think, will bear that out.”

Behind Nowitzki’s eight points on 3-of-4 shooting and 2 for 2 from three-point range in the opening quarter, the Mavericks connected on 12 of 22 from the field in the first 12 minutes of play. The Mavs also hit four of their eight three-point attempts in the period, holding an 11-7 rebounding edge to overcome fourth turnovers. However, the production picked up when the second unit entered the game, according to Barnes. With that said, the Dallas starters know they will need to continue to jell during the final two exhibition outings.

“You know, a few shots didn’t go early, but I felt like we battled and we competed,” Barnes confessed after scoring 14 points during Monday’s victory. “I was proud of the rest of the guys. Our second unit and third unit went out and finished the game for us.

“I mean, we’ve just got to get the reps,” he added. “You know, it’s different out there not having Seth, but I think Yogi is obviously very talented and he’s proven himself. We just have to continue to find a flow and rhythm that works for us.”

This season, the Mavericks will attempt to make life easy on the 19-year-old Smith, who filled up the stat sheet Monday night with 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists to lead the way to the win. Meanwhile, the Mavericks know they will likely be at a size disadvantage most nights by playing two point guards in the first unit and Nowitzki at the center position. And according to Nowitzki, the Mavs will have to rely on their veteran presence to overcome the first unit’s liabilities.

“We’re going to start the game, if that’s the starting lineup going into the season, we’re going to be undersized most nights. Most teams don’t really go really small off the bat. Usually they start two bigs, so we’re going to be undersized most nights when we go out there,” Nowitzki admitted after finishing with 10 points and six rebounds in just over 20 minutes of action Monday night. “You know, since I’m not the greatest rebounder, we’ve got to have all five guys in there battling and boxing out. That’s a big emphasis so far in training camp, pursing the ball, ’cause there’s been too many offensive rebounds the last few years here and there that cost you big games. So, we want to have five guys in there battling. And obviously Dennis, with his explosiveness, he can come in there with a running start, jump over a lot of backs and get some big rebounds for us.

“I mean, we’ve played some minutes together. Actually, every practice we kind of stick together and have been playing together, but still we can get better, work on some things and get the plays more natural. We’ve got some veterans in that group that have been together, and we’ve got to help out when things go a little haywire sometimes. It’s going to happen.”

Note: The Mavericks will now travel to Atlanta for Thursday’s matchup against the Hawks. The game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest Plus and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Oct. 18 for the regular-season opener against the Atlanta Hawks. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out