DALLAS — With the preseason now behind them after limping to just a 2-5 mark in exhibition play, the Dallas Mavericks will try to make the necessary adjustments needed before Wednesday’s regular-season opener in Indiana.
Falling to a lopsided 101-75 loss Friday night in Denver to conclude the preseason, the Mavericks admittedly weren’t able to jell with their new-look team during seven exhibition contests. The Mavs will now attempt to address their miscues on the practice court, reconvening as a team Sunday after a much-needed day off. And after trimming the roster down from 20 to 15 by requesting waivers on Kyle Collinsworth, Jaleel Cousins, Keith Hornsby, Jonathan Gibson and C.J. Williams, the Mavericks will now turn their attention to the Eastern Conference perennial power Pacers.
“Truthfully, there’s going to be a lot of questions about us, because we played poorly in preseason,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confessed following Sunday’s team practice. “Our starters struggled, and we’ve got a lot of work to do. These three days of practice before we play Indiana are extremely important, because they’re a tough matchup. I mean, they’re an improved team. They’re faster and more athletic than us, and so we’re going to have to be much improved by Wednesday to be where we want to be.”
Looking to hit the ground running on the road Opening Night, the Mavericks will quickly try to forget about their lackluster preseason. The Mavs also hope to have the full roster at their disposal, despite injuries to a few of the projected top contributors off the bench.
The Mavericks played the final four games of the preseason without backup big man Quincy Acy, hoping he can be ready by Wednesday night after practicing Sunday with his right foot sprain. The Mavs also took the floor minus reserve guard J.J. Barea during the final three outings after he suffered a left elbow sprain during a practice last week. Now, after also seeing veteran reserve guard Devin Harris exit Friday’s loss with a right great toe injury, the Mavs could find themselves shorthanded in the backcourt and leaning heavily on newcomer Seth Curry when they take on the Pacers.
“Well, if J.J. can’t go, then Curry is going to be our backup point, and we’re just going to have to figure out something,” Carlisle explained. “I knew that coming into this that we have some veteran guys that are in their 30s, and we have some fragility at that position. But we have four guys if you count Harris as a point guard, which he can do, but he really hasn’t played it the last three years. But if we’re down a couple of guys, we’re going to have to be resourceful and figure it out. It’s not an ideal situation, for sure.”
Curry, 26, led the Mavericks in scoring during the preseason, averaging 10.7 points per outing on 40.7 percent shooting while coming off the bench in six of the seven games. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound combo guard also showed that he can do a bit of everything on the court, pulling down 2.0 rebounds, dishing out 2.0 assists and collecting 1.2 steals a game this preseason in less than 19 minutes an outing. That said, Curry vows to be ready to step up if his veteran teammates aren’t able to play Wednesday night, hoping to give the team a lift to begin the regular season.
“It doesn’t change my approach at all. I don’t know what it means for me on Wednesday, but my approach has been the same all preseason,” Curry confidently said. “Every day I’m just coming in and working hard to just be ready for my opportunities. And when I get on the floor, I’m just being aggressive and trying to make the most of my minutes.”
Note: The Mavericks will now begin the regular season on Wednesday in Indiana, traveling for an Opening Night matchup against the Pacers. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN.
The Mavs return to American Airlines Center for the home opener on Friday night, hosting the Houston Rockets. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.
Quincy Acy (right foot sprain) — day-to-day
J.J. Barea (left elbow sprain) — day-to-day
Devin Harris (right great toe injury) — doubtful