2017 Preseason Game 1: Mavs vs. Bucks

One-on-one with Jonathan Motley

Earl K. Sneed goes one-on-one with Jonathan Motley prior to tonight’s preseason opener against the Bucks.

DALLAS — Although the Dallas Mavericks admit that they’ll have a chance to showcase their new uptempo attack in front of their fans during the preseason opener Monday night, the team also knows it will be put to the test at the defensive end of the floor against the young and athletic Milwaukee Bucks.

Last season, the Mavericks ranked 30th in the league in scoring while posting just 97.9 points per game as a team. The Dallas offense also dished out just 20.8 assists an outing as a team, ranking 27th in that department. Meanwhile, the Mavs finished with the second-to-last slowest pace in the league of 94.16. That said, the Mavericks hope to begin speeding up the tempo during the 2017-18 season by moving the ball Monday night.

“We’ve got to play together,” Mavs veteran guard J.J. Barea explained following the team’s Monday morning shootaround. “As long as the ball keeps moving, we’re going to play faster and we’re going to get off to good starts in the game. It’s going to be fun to watch, but we’ve got to get it going from the first preseason game. We’ve got to get a good start in the first preseason quarter, and then go from there. We’ve got a lot of young talent. We’re going to be faster and more athletic, but we’ll see how it goes.”

However, while the Mavericks look to speed up the pace offensively, they will admittedly have their hands full at the defensive end with the Bucks’ high-octane attack.

Led by MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and reigning Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, the Bucks (0-0) finished last season with an offensive rating of 106.9 to rank 13th in the league. Milwaukee also finished with a 1.73 assist-to-turnover ratio, ranking ninth in that department. And after seeing the Bucks finish last season with a true shooting percentage of 56.5 percent to rank seventh in the NBA, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle says his team will be tested at both ends of the floor.

“Well, we’re going to have to go hard. I want to see us execute basic things well, take care of the ball, get back and guard. You know, it’s pretty basic stuff, and Milwaukee is a team that’s been vastly improving over the last couple of years. We had two very hotly, competitive games against them in preseason last year, and they’re a great test for us.

“These guys make transition very quickly with their speed, and also they test you a lot on both sides of the ball. They steal it a lot, they turn teams over a lot and they live in the paint on offense, so you’ve really got to contain them on the defensive end. And on the offensive end, you’ve got to make sure you’re moving it up the floor quickly but taking care of it.”

Note: The Mavericks will now begin their six-game preseason schedule Monday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. The game will tip off at 7:30 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. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Wesley Matthews (sore right ankle) — questionable
P.J. Dozier (bruised back) — out
Josh McRoberts — out

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