Mavericks vs. Pacers
Chris Copeland scores 22 points, David west adds 16 points as the Pacers top the Mavericks 98-93.
INDIANAPOLIS — 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.
Mavs vs. Pacers
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.
“I thought there were a lot of positives,” Carlisle said after the loss. “The first three quarters were very good. Fourth quarter, we didn’t do a good job defensively and the shot making wasn’t there. You know, Indiana is a good team, but I thought overall some good things.”
Competing without his normal first unit, Carlisle rolled out a starting lineup of second-year point guard Gal Mekel, third-year swingman Jae Crowder, veteran forward Richard Jefferson, big man Ivan Johnson and backup center Greg Smith. Mekel then would quickly assert himself on the offensive end, looking to attack and facilitate for his teammates in the early stage of the opening period.
But it would be reserve big man Brandan Wright and roster hopeful Charlie Villanueva that would help the Mavs gain an early advantage on the scoreboard, coming in off the bench to assist the Dallas team in taking a 29-25 edge after the first quarter of play.
Continuing to control the pace of the game in the second stanza, the Mavericks opened up a 38-30 advantage on Jefferson’s three-pointer from the wing with 5:50 left in the half. A triple by Al-Farouq Aminu would quickly follow, boosting the Mavs to a double-digit lead.
The margin then peaked at 14 before the Mavs surged into the halftime intermission with a 52-42 lead thanks to Wright’s 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
After connecting on 48.8 percent from the field in the first 24 minutes of action compared to the Pacers’ 36.4 percent, the Mavericks attempted to continue clicking on all cylinders in the second half. The Pacers (2-3), who are already without All-Star Paul George for the season due to a broken right leg, then took another blow when big man David West was helped to the locker room midway through the third with a sprained right ankle.
Meanwhile, Jefferson took charge for the Mavs, accounting for 19 points through three quarters as the visiting team took a 74-61 advantage into the fourth.
Trying to stage a rally in the final period, the Pacers turned to sharpshooter Chris Copeland’s outside shooting. Smith then fouled out with 3:34 remaining, sending Donald Sloan to the free-throw line to complete a three-point play that trimmed the Mavs’ lead to just 85-83.
But Copeland wouldn’t stop looking for his own shot, giving the Pacers an 86-85 lead on a three-pointer. Mekel quickly answered, only to see Damjan Rudez return fire. Still, after Villanueva’s score inside, the Mavs found themselves tied at 91-all with 1:02 still on the clock.
After a 2-for-2 trip to the foul line by Sloan with 49.2 ticks left broke the tie, Mekel again had an answer, hitting a tough jumper in the lane with 37.2 seconds remaining. However, after Sloan got loose for a layup to give the Pacers the lead, Mekel would be unable to convert on a mid-range jumper. Solomon Hill’s 1-of-2 trip to the foul line then gave the Mavs just 11.7 seconds to overcome a three-point deficit, leading to a miss by Villanueva from behind the arc.
Sloan’s two three throws with 6.6 seconds left then put the finishing touches on the Pacers’ comeback, sending the Mavericks home with a hard-fought loss.
Playing 26 minutes in his second start of the preseason, Jefferson led the way for the Mavericks with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 2-of-2 from behind the three-point arc. Mekel pitched in 19 points as well on 7-of-14 from the field, dishing out nine assists to boot in over 42 minutes of work.
“Mekel’s playing great,” Carlisle said with high praise for the young guard’s night. “He’s really playing extremely well, and he had really good command of the game. He got a little tired at the end. You know, 42 minutes is a lot for a guy that’s been playing 12 or less most of the time, but he did a great job and there were a lot of good things.”
Recording a double-double off the Dallas bench and matching Villanueva’s scoring output, Aminu finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Meanwhile, Wright registered 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in just 14 minutes of work.
Copeland led four Pacers in double figures with 22 points on 6-of-15 shooting, attempting and missing only one shot that wasn’t a three-pointer. The Mavs’ 43.5 percent shooting also just slightly bettered the Pacers’ 42.5 percent while Indiana ended the game with a 44-41 rebounding edge to make up for the 24 points they gave up off 18 turnovers.
“We wanted to win,” Mekel admitted. “It’s one of those games that you feel bad that you had the lead the whole game and lose in the end, but we had a lot of good stuff and we can take a lot of good things from this game moving on.”
He added: “I think we missed some open shots, and they started to play more aggressive. They hit some threes, and it was one of those games. But like I said, you know, we can take away a lot of good things. A lot of guys got their opportunities today, and I think most of the guys played great. That’s it. I’m taking the good things from this game.”
Note: The Mavs return to Dallas to host the Memphis Grizzlies at American Airlines Center on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. CT. The game will air on Fox Sports Southwest. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
Injury updates presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Centers:
-Raymond Felton, high right ankle sprain, out at least 10 days
|J. Crowder, F||34||4-8||0-1||1-1||0||0||0||2||1||0||1||5||1||9|
|I. Johnson, F||6||0-3||0-1||0-0||1||1||2||0||1||0||1||5||1||0|
|G. Smith, C||15||2-5||0-0||1-2||0||3||3||0||0||0||0||6||4||5|
|R. Jefferson, G||25||7-11||2-2||3-6||1||4||5||2||2||0||1||4||9||19|
|G. Mekel, G||42||7-14||1-2||4-4||0||2||2||9||0||0||5||4||1||19|
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|C. Copeland, F||30||6-15||6-14||4-4||0||5||5||1||2||1||0||2||3||22|
|D. West, F||23||5-11||0-0||6-6||1||3||4||1||1||1||3||2||-9||16|
|R. Hibbert, C||25||3-4||0-0||2-2||0||6||6||0||1||1||5||5||-10||8|
|C. Miles, G||26||1-8||0-4||2-3||0||1||1||3||0||0||0||3||-8||4|
|G. Hill, G||28||3-11||0-3||4-6||1||8||9||6||1||1||3||1||-7||10|
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Sky High Oop
Gal Mekel throws the high alley-oop to Brandan Wright for the one-handed slam.
Mavericks vs. Pacers: First Half
Brandan Wright scored 10 points and the Mavericks took a 10 point lead to half.
INDIANAPOLIS — Using Friday’s preseason showdown as a virtual tune-up for the regular season, the Dallas Mavericks showcased to the league just hope potent they figure to be at the offensive end of the floor.
Taking advantage of the absences of All-Star big man Kevin Love and ex-Mav Shawn Marion as both sat out Friday’s exhibition outing to rest, the Mavericks cruised past four-time MVP LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 108-102 victory. And after six different scorers reached double figures in the win, the new-look Mavs displayed their depth while improving to 2-2 in preseason play.
“I mean, it’s preseason and it’s a time to work on what you need to work on,” new addition Chandler Parsons proclaimed after he and fellow newcomer Jameer Nelson led the way to the win with 19 points apiece.
He added: “We’re obviously pretty new to each other, so anytime we get a chance to go out there and play we’re going to get better. Cleveland is very talented. They had some guys out, but it’s fun to go up against a guy like LeBron. And they’re going to be a strong team and a heavy favorite in the East, so it was good to come out here and play well.”
Sending out their first unit of Nelson, shooting guard Monta Ellis, Parsons, 12-time All-Star power forward Dirk Nowitzki and center Tyson Chandler for the first time this preseason, the Mavs showed how lethal their offensive attack could prove to be as four of the five starters reached double figures. Meanwhile, after implementing their zone defense for the entire game, the Mavs also showed that the other side of the ball is still a work in progress.
The Mavs capitalized off the Cavaliers’ miscues in Friday night’s win by converting Cleveland’s 22 turnovers into 25 points at the other end. Still, after losing a 44-37 rebounding battle and allowing the Cavaliers to shoot 45.9 percent from the field, the Mavs admit that they’ll have plenty to work on as they complete their back-to-back on the road Saturday against the Indiana Pacers.
“We did some good things,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confessed after Friday’s win. “We’ve got a ways to go with the chemistry, but at times the ball was really moving and we were screening and doing good things on offense. We played a lot of zone (on defense), so we knew there were going to be some tough stretches with that, because this is a very skilled team. But all and all, without looking at the film, I’d say it’s positive.”
“You know, we did a lot of experimentation, going zone pretty much 95 percent of the game. And that was the first time I think in my whole career playing zone pretty much the whole game,” backup big man Brandan Wright added while summing up the night. “We did some good things, but we did some things that we need to work on. Overall, we got the win and that’s the best thing.”
Meanwhile, after logging just under 29 minutes in the win, the 36-year-old Nowitzki figures to sit out Saturday’s showdown against the Pacers (1-3).
Scoring 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting and snatching down nine rebounds in the win, Nowitzki was able to get into a rhythm while working with the starting lineup for the first time in a game setting. He also showed that he’s already in midseason form during Sunday’s 106-98 home victory over the Pacers, scoring 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting and grabbing five boards to boot.
Now, Nowitzki is expected to sit out Saturday’s contest while resting up for Monday night’s matchup at home against the Southwest Division rival Memphis Grizzlies.
“I mean, I wouldn’t say it meant a lot more, but it was good to see everybody out there healthy,” Nowitzki said following Friday’s win. “I was out a week and Monta was out for a few days, so it was good to see everybody out there and getting on the same page and keep working. I mean, we only have a few games left. Obviously, I’m not going to play [Saturday]. I think that’s no secret, and I’m not going to play the back-to-back next week. So, we only have a few games left, and we’ve got to get better, get used to each other and get our cardio up. I almost played 30 minutes for the first time since probably May in Game 7 (versus the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs), so it’s been a long time and I was a little tired in the second half. So, we’ve just got to continue working on getting our weight up and getting the timing back. But I thought there were stretches where we played really well off each other, so that’s fun.”
Note: Concluding their back-to-back in Indiana Saturday night, the Mavericks will play a rematch against the Pacers for their fifth test of the exhibition schedule. The game will take place at 6 p.m. CT and will not be televised.
The Mavs return to Dallas to host the Memphis Grizzlies at American Airlines Center on Monday night 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.
Injury updates presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Centers:
-Raymond Felton, high right ankle sprain, out at least 10 day