DALLAS — Needing a full 48 minutes to escape with a 106-104 victory Monday in their preseason opener at home against Milwaukee, the Dallas Mavericks hope to learn from their first exhibition outing and clean up their miscues two nights later.
Using backup big man Johnathan Motley’s game-winning score with 4.7 seconds remaining to capture their preseason opener, the Mavericks (1-0) will now turn their attention to Wednesday’s matchup against the Chicago Bulls in the first outing of a back-to-back that concludes Thursday in Orlando. The Mavs will also try to extend the minutes of their starters after playing the entire first unit exclusively in the opening quarter of Monday’s win. And with the regular season rapidly approaching, the Mavericks will try to take another step forward by moving to 2-0 in preseason play.
“I mean, it’s good to be back,” 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said after Monday’s victory. “We didn’t make the playoffs last year and we were done in the middle of April, so it’s been a long summer. It’s going to take a while to get going for everyone and to mesh together, but I thought we had some good moments here and there. It’s definitely something to build on, so we’ll go from there. Preseason is all about finding a rhythm and getting your legs under yourself. The first week is usually hard, so we look forward to getting better.”
“It was good to see some of the stuff we’ve been working on in practice and coming into games,” leading scorer Harrison Barnes added. “In the first preseason game, you’re not really sure what to expect. There’s a lot of nervous energy from guys that haven’t been here before and meshing with the guys that have been here, so I thought it went well.”
Playing the starters all 12 minutes of the first quarter, the Mavericks took a 29-27 edge into the second stanza. The second unit took matters from there, sliding into into the halftime intermission with a 58-55 edge. However, Milwaukee’s 49.4 percent shooting from the field bettered Dallas’ 47 percent. And despite ending the game with a 42-39 rebounding edge while converting the Bucks’ 20 turnovers into 27 points, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle says his team will have plenty to clean up Wednesday night against the upstart Bulls (1-0).
“We did some very good things, and there’s always clean-up things with the first exhibition game,” Carlisle explained. “I thought, for the most part, we moved the ball decently. Defensively, we had some mix-ups and stuff that we worked at cleaning up (Tuesday), so as these games go along we’re looking to tighten it up and do better. And then we’ve got to keep adding things that need to be in, so we did some of that (Tuesday) and (Wednesday) is another important step.”
Note: The Mavericks will now continue their preseason schedule Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls. 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.
There’s no injuries to report at this time.