DALLAS — After missing two games due to left knee effusion, the Dallas Mavericks will have their prized first-round draft pick back in the lineup Monday night against the defending NBA champions.
Welcoming in the Golden State Warriors, the Mavericks (0-3) will try to collect their first win of the 2017-18 season at the reigning titleholders’ expense. The Mavs will also try to feed off their home crowd, looking to bounce back from Saturday’s 107-91 defeat in Houston. And with rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. back in the lineup, the Mavericks hope to begin their hike up the standings with a signature victory on their home hardwood.
“I’m good,” Smith said after the Mavericks’ Monday morning shootaround. “I had an MRI done on my ligaments. There’s a little bit of swelling, which is bound to happen, but I’m being cautious at the beginning of the year.
“Our main thing is we’ve just got to come out with some swag. We can’t come out flat,” he added. “They’re a team that comes in, and they do what they do every single night. We’ve got to come in and be the Dallas Mavericks that we can be. And like I said, we’ve got to bring that swag.”
Facing a 1-2 Golden State team, the Mavericks fully expect to be in for a dogfight with the defending champs off to a sluggish start to the season. Meanwhile, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle hopes his team can be better in the rebounding department after losing the battle of the boards decisively in the first three games.
Falling to a season-opening 117-111 loss to Atlanta last Wednesday, the Mavericks were out-rebounded by the Hawks, 50-41. Two nights later the Mavericks were dominated again on the glass, falling to a 93-88 defeat against Sacramento while losing a 57-36 rebounding battle. The Mavs were again out-rebounded Saturday night in Houston, 54-41, while falling to their third straight loss to start the season. And according to Carlisle, the Mavericks will have to be better on the glass Monday night in order to dethrone the champs.
“There’s been several positives. The problem is we don’t have enough positives to overcome a deficit of possession of the ball. That’s the big problem we’re having, so we’ve got to rebound better,” Carlisle confessed. “Tonight’s a different kind of challenge, because of the movement, the long shots and the rebounds. One of the areas we’ve struggled with is claiming balls in the neutral area, the free-throw line and the top of the key. With all the threes that are being shot now, we’ve got to scramble better and scoop those up.”
Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Monday against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. 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.
Dennis Smith Jr. (left knee effusion) — expected to play
Devin Harris (personal reasons) — doubtful
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out