Dallas Mavericks: Dallas Mavericks

Ten years into his career, winning matters much more to Jameer Nelson than money.

That’s why Nelson was grateful to be waived by the Orlando Magic this summer.

Jameer Nelson
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsMavericks point guard Jameer Nelson returns to Orlando to face his former team.
Nelson was due to make $8 million this season in the final year of his contract with the Magic, but only $2 million of it was guaranteed. Orlando opted to save the money and allow Nelson, a loyal leader the franchise honored with a billboard after cutting ties with him, to search for an opportunity to join a contender.

“I was ready to go,” said Nelson, who returns to Orlando as the Mavericks’ starting point guard for both teams’ preseason finale Friday night. “I enjoyed going through the rebuilding process with them, but it was time for me to go. If you asked me if I asked for the buyout, it was mutual.”

Nelson, who should receive a standing ovation at the Amway Center, is being polite about enjoying the rebuilding process. After making the playoffs six straight years, it was painful for him to win a total of 43 games the last two seasons for a franchise that was devastated by Dwight Howard’s departure.

That won’t be a problem with the Mavs, who signed Nelson for a bargain salary of $2.73 million this season, adding another piece to a team that is a threat to do significant damage in the hypercompetitive Western Conference playoffs.

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Chandler Parsons, Kevin DurantJerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsChandler Parsons is ready to take the next step in his career and become more of a leader.
DALLAS -- Chandler Parsons embraces the challenge of proving the Dallas Mavericks didn’t overpay for him.

The Mavs certainly paid a premium rate for a player who has never been an All-Star, signing Parsons to a three-year, $46 million deal that is close to a maximum contract for a four-year veteran.

That was the price of poker for the Mavs, who had the luxury of bidding high for Parsons due to Dirk Nowitzki’s discount deal and had to do so to have any chance of the Houston Rockets declining their right to match the offer to their restricted free agent. Parsons looks forward to showing that the Mavs made a wise investment.

“Nothing was given to me, and I believe I earned this contract,” Parsons told ESPNDallas.com. “Now obviously, I want to prove my worth.

“I want to prove I’m worth that, and I want another contract. And I want to win big. I came here looking for a bigger role, I came here for more leadership, and I’m ready for that next step in my career.”

The Mavs are confident that Parsons, who turns 26 this week, will continue to be an ascending player. He increased his scoring, rebounding and assists averages in each of his three years in Houston, topping out at 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists last season.

As more of an offensive focal point with the Mavs, it’s reasonable to project that Parsons’ numbers will continue to trend upward.

The Mavs don’t want Parsons to worry about his individual numbers. He’ll have a featured role in the offense, but it’s not as if Parsons will have the ball in his hands as much as the Rockets’ James Harden, whose scoring average and shot attempts increased dramatically after he made the transition from complementary piece in Oklahoma City to go-to guy in Houston.

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Mavs waive Eric Griffin, Yuki Togashi

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
The Mavericks waived forward Eric Griffin and guard Yuki Togashi on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-8 Griffin was originally signed July 18 after playing for the Mavs in the Las Vegas Summer League, where he averaged 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.3 steals in 19.3 minutes. He saw action in two preseason games for Dallas.

Togashi, who is listed at 5-foot-7, was signed Oct. 15 and did not play in a game for the Mavs.

Both players are likely to play for the Texas Legends, the Mavs' D-League affiliate.

The Mavericks' roster now stands at 18 players.

'Sky's the limit' for Mavs' offensive machine

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
NowitzkiJerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports"I think we can score with the best of 'em in this league," Dirk Nowitzki said of the upgraded Mavs.

DALLAS – These Dallas Mavericks will be an offensive juggernaut.

That might sound like a premature declaration, considering this starting five has played a grand total of two preseason games as a unit. But just listen to LeBron James, a pretty good authority on offensive awesomeness.

“If it’s not the top three or four best offenses in the league, then you don’t get any better than Rick Carlisle offense,” James said after getting a firsthand look at the Mavs on Friday in Cleveland.

He’ll get no argument from the Memphis Grizzlies, after one of the NBA’s stingiest defensive teams struggled to get stops until the Mavs’ starters iced up on the bench in the fourth quarter of Dallas’ 108-103 victory Monday night.

You don’t get any better than Rick Carlisle offense, but Carlisle’s offense got a lot better this offseason.

The Mavs were an elite scoring team the past season, when Dallas ranked tied for second in the NBA in offensive efficiency and put up 109 points per 100 possessions. Then the Mavs made a couple major upgrades in the starting lineup.

Chandler Parsons, the Mavs’ new $15-plus-million-per-year small forward, is an all-around weapon who hurts opponents as a pick-and-roll ball handler, spot-up perimeter shooter, slasher, runner and just about any other imaginable way. Tyson Chandler is best known for his award-winning work on the defensive end, but he excels as a roll man who can catch and finish above the rim, a threat who sucks in defenses and creates space for the Mavs’ many shooters.

Whether Jameer Nelson is an offensive upgrade over departed, deadeye-shooting point guard Jose Calderon could be subject for debate, but there’s no doubt Nelson fits well in Dallas with his veteran savvy, perimeter shooting and penetration ability.

Put those new pieces and a deep bench with Dirk Nowitkzi and Monta Ellis, one of the league’s premier pick-and-pop partnerships, and the Mavs have an awfully potent mix.

Not to put too much stock in preseason stats, but in the four quarters started by the Mavs’ starting five, Dallas has scored an eye-popping 130 points.

The Mavs scored 91 points through three quarters against the Grizzlies, who gave up a Western Conference-low 94.6 points per game the past season. Heck, the Mavs managed to score 57 points in the first half despite their two leading scorers from the past season combining for 2-of-11 from the floor.

“I think we can score with the best of ‘em in this league,” said Nowitzki, who finished with 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting. “We definitely have a lot of scoring power out there. The game these days is pick-and-rolls, and we’ve got some great pick-and-roll players. With Tyson and [Brandan] Wright, we’ve got guys who can finish way above the rim. That sucks in a lot of the guys because they’ve got to protect the rim. Jameer is a knockdown shooter. We’ve got a lot of weapons out there.”

The Mavs have a lot of weapons that mesh well. The Dallas decision-makers did a masterful job manufacturing a roster of players who perfectly complement one another.

Nowitzki, the sweetest shooting power forward to ever play the game, demands the kind of attention that will make him the focal point of any defensive game plan. Ellis, one of the league’s most dynamic off-the-dribble players, is one of several Mavericks who should thrive running pick-and-pops with the 10th scorer in NBA history, a list that also includes Parsons, Nelson and sixth man Devin Harris. If teams cheat too much toward Nowitzki when he’s spacing the floor on the weak side while the centers set picks, Chandler or Wright are highlights waiting to happen.

The Mavs, whose rotation will probably go at least 10 deep on a regular basis, plan to play at a fast pace and challenge foes to keep up.

“Rick’s system is unbelievable, and I think for the personnel that we have, it’s perfect,” said Parsons, who had 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting and 5 assists in 28 minutes against Memphis. “It’s run-and-gun, but he does have a structure. His playbook is big. He puts us in the best situations ... spots on the floor where we can thrive ...

“I think the sky’s the limit for us. I think we’ve got to understand that we’ve got so many guys who can score the ball that if we lock in on the defensive end, we could be special. We have so many guys and so many weapons who can hurt you on the offensive end. If we lock in and focus, we’re going to be tough to beat.”
DALLAS -- As the Memphis Grizzlies took the floor for shootaround, the players gravitated to one of the corners of the American Airlines Center court.

“This is the spot, right?” they asked Vince Carter.

Vince Carter
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsVince Carter's finest moment for the Mavs was hitting a game-winning buzzer-beater in last season's playoff series against the Spurs.
“Nah, a little bit over,” Carter replied, basking in the memory of his finest moment with the Dallas Mavericks, that Game 3-winning buzzer-beater in last season’s playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.

Carter has many fond memories from his three years in Dallas, when the eight-time All-Star reinvented himself as one of the NBA’s best sixth men.

The 37-year-old Carter hoped to continue -- and finish -- his career with the Mavericks, but that’s not the way free agency played out. The Grizzlies swooped in with a take-it-or-leave-it, three-year, $12.3 million offer for Carter while the Mavs were waiting to see if the Houston Rockets would exercise their rights to match Dallas’ deal for Chandler Parsons.

Carter, recognizing that the Mavs couldn’t come close to matching Memphis’ deal if Parsons landed in Dallas, opted to take the sure thing from the Grizzlies, a Western Conference playoff team that needed a sixth man with his scoring and playmaking abilities.

“They offered that young man a lot of money,” Carter said, referring to Parsons. “I kind of understood how it goes from there. It’s a business. I get it, so there’s no hard feelings or anything like that. I understand how it goes. It was a great situation, a great offer from Memphis. It was kind of like, ‘If I pass on this now, what would be left here for me?’ Obviously not much. Had to move on.”

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Shawn MarionDavid Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe Mavs will face former teammate Shawn Marion as a member of the Cavs for the first time Friday.
DALLAS -- “Weird” is the word used by members of the 2011 title team who are currently employed by the Dallas Mavericks to describe seeing Shawn Marion wearing the wine and gold of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Marion, a man who played such a critical role in delaying LeBron James’ first championship celebration a year, is now a member of King James’ supporting cast.

The Mavs have nothing but fond memories and warm feelings for Marion, who they’ll see tonight when they face the Cavs in a preseason game. Marion didn’t make an All-Star team or put up spectacular numbers during his five years in Dallas, as he did during his run with the Phoenix Suns. But owner Mark Cuban should seriously consider raising the Matrix’s No. 0 to the American Airlines Center rafters when Marion retires to the home he’s building in the Dallas suburbs.

“He’ll go down as one of the all-time great Mavs because of his contributions to a championship team, number one,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Marion, who will rest instead of playing Friday night. “But number two is his versatility and his ability to do so many different things that contribute to winning.”

Marion, a four-time All-Star during his 20/10 days in Phoenix, transitioned to being the ultimate role player in Dallas.

Marion averaged 11.6 points, scoring in double figures each season, despite never being an offensive focal point, getting a bunch of buckets off cuts to the basket or from crashing the offensive glass. He ranked among the NBA’s most effective rebounding small forwards, averaging 7.0 per game during his Dallas tenure, leading the Mavs in that category the last three seasons.

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DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki shot his way into the top 10 of the NBA’s all-time scoring list last season and isn’t nearly done yet.

How high can the big German go?

[+] EnlargeRick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki
AP Photo/Jason DeCrowRick Carlisle is confident Dirk Nowitzki will catch Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
“He’s going to be one of the top five scorers of all time, I would guess,” Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said on Sirius XM NBA Radio.

Nowitzki enters his 17th season with 26,786 points. Wilt Chamberlain, the No. 5 scorer in NBA history, scored 31,419 points in his career.

Can Nowitzki score another 4,633 points in his career? That could largely depend on two issues that are directly related: his health and how much longer he plays.

Nowitzki, 36, signed a three-year, $25 million deal this summer. He certainly hasn’t ruled out continuing to play after that contract expires, particularly if he’s still performing at a high level on a team capable of contending for a title.

“Obviously, I’m looking to complete that contract in three years and then re-evaluate and see how the body is holding up,” Nowitzki said earlier this month. “I’m looking forward to having three good years.”

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Nowitzki, who should move past Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes and Moses Malone this season and Shaquille O'Neal in 2015-156, could pass Chamberlain before this deal is done.

Nowitzki scored 1,735 points last season, averaging 21.7 in 80 games. His scoring numbers will likely dip as he continues to fight Father Time and the Mavs try to trim his minutes. He’d need to average 1,544 points over the next three seasons – with an extra free throw mixed in somewhere during that span – to catch Chamberlain by the end of this contract.

With good health, Wilt could be well within Dirk’s reach.

Mavs' Nelson: 'I just have to be aggressive'

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
DALLAS – Just be Jameer Nelson.

That’s the job description for the new Dallas Mavericks starting point guard in the simplest terms.

[+] EnlargeJameer Nelson
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsJameer Nelson is capable of doing anything the Mavs ask of their point guards.
The Mavs signed Nelson because they wanted a smart, tough floor leader who could provide some penetration, knock down open shots and get the ball where it needed to go. That’s what Nelson did throughout his 10-year tenure with the Orlando Magic.

But Nelson is in the beginning stages of a major transition. He’s learning the Mavs’ schemes on the fly – and they’ve still installed only about half of their offensive sets – and getting accustomed to operating an offense that features a pair of wings who thrive as pick-and-roll initiators and the sweetest-shooting power forward in NBA history.

“Most importantly, I just have to be aggressive in whatever I do,” said Nelson, who has career averages of 12.6 points and 5.4 assists per game. “I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to mess some things up, but just staying aggressive will help myself and the team.

“The system is new. Things are different. Learning on the fly is a little tough, but I’m smart enough, picking it up pretty fast and learning guys’ sweet spots on the floor, learning when I need to shoot more. All that stuff will come.”

Coach Rick Carlisle, who raves about Nelson’s intangibles, knows that Nelson is feeling his way in a new system with all new teammates. The feeling-out process is about becoming familiar with when and where teammates want the ball and Nelson can get his scoring opportunities in the Mavs’ movement-intensive offense.

“Get comfortable and give us the right balance of penetration, scoring off pick-and-rolls, scoring off spot-ups and he’s got to give us tough defense,” Carlisle said. “He’s very capable of all those things.”

Breaking in a new starting point guard is becoming old hat for the Mavs. Nelson will be the fourth point guard to start opening night for the Mavs in four years, following in the footsteps of Jason Kidd, Darren Collison and Jose Calderon. And who could forget the starting stints for Derek Fisher and Mike James during the 2012-13 campaign? Oh, right, you’d rather forget.

The Mavs very well could be in the market for a premier point guard again next summer, when Rajon Rondo and Goran Dragic should be available in free agency. But Nelson, who has a player option for next season on the two-year, cap-room-exception deal he signed this summer, should be a fine fit to lead a committee that also features veterans Devin Harris and Raymond Felton.

Nelson provides at least reasonable facsimiles of some of the best attributes of the Mavs’ last few opening-night point guards. He’s not among the precious few in NBA history who are on Kidd’s level as a leader, but the muscular, 6-foot Nelson provides toughness, a take-charge personality and would score high on any basketball IQ tests. He’s not as quick as Collison, but Nelson has a knack for getting in the lane and finishing or finding a teammate for an easy bucket. Nelson isn’t as accurate a long-range marksman as Calderon, but he has shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range four times in his career.

In other words, the squatty, 6-foot Nelson is capable of doing anything the Mavs ask of their point guards.

“He’s been around for a long time now and he always plays with certain poise,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “He’s a great shooter, so you can never leave him open. And if he gets in there he’s a good passer – I love his penetrations.

“So with the lineup we’ve got out there, he should get his fair share of pick-and-rolls, he should get his fair share of open shots. And if he’s open, I’ll take a shot up any time.”

In summary, here’s what the Mavs need from Nelson: Be aggressive. Be smart. Be tough. Be yourself.
DALLAS -- The Mavericks’ starting five will make its debut as a full unit in Friday’s preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“We’re going to play our normal group Friday and we’ll go from there,” coach Rick Carlisle said.

It is a certainty that Dirk Nowitzki will not play Saturday against the Indiana Pacers. Nowitzki, who is entering his 17th season, has said that he will not play both ends of back-to-backs during the preseason.

It’d make sense for the Mavs to rest other veterans, such as center Tyson Chandler, shooting guard Monta Ellis and point guards Jameer Nelson and Devin Harris, against the Pacers as well.

For now, the focus is on the starting five building some chemistry after minor injuries to Nowitzki (hip) and Ellis (knee) have prevented the starters from all being on the floor together for game action.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how it works in a game,” Nowitzki said. “We put in a lot of new sets here the last couple of days, so I think it’s going to take a few reps and a few games to get everybody on the same page. But, yeah, it should be a fun game.”

Mavs' starting five finally together

October, 15, 2014
Oct 15
DALLAS -- Maybe Mavericks fans should cross their fingers, but it looks like the team’s projected starting five will finally get some game action together this weekend.

All of the starters are finally healthy, with Dirk Nowitzki (hip) and Monta Ellis (knee) recovered from their minor injuries. The group should play together for the first time this weekend, although Nowitzki and possibly other veterans don’t plan to play in both games of the back-to-back.

Chandler Parsons
Glenn James/NBAE/Getty ImagesChandler Parsons, entering his fourth season in the NBA, is the least experienced of the Mavs' starting five.
Getting to the regular season as healthy as possible is the top priority, but the preseason is particularly valuable for a group that features three new pieces in the starting five.

“It’s four other new pieces for me,” said point guard Jameer Nelson, who joins small forward Chandler Parsons and center Tyson Chandler as the fresh faces in the starting five. “It’s tough, because you’re trying to learn the offense, you’re trying to learn the defense. Everything is on the fly. Everything is different.

“I just found myself thinking too much, trying to do things the right way and sometimes that takes away from being aggressive. So I just have to be who I am and figure out the defensive schemes and offensive execution as we go along.”

It’s not all new for Chandler, of course, considering that the Mavs haven’t made major scheme changes since No. 6 manned the center spot during the 2010-11 title season. But Nowitzki is the only player left from that team.

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban hopes 44-minute games don’t get past the preseason experiment stage in the NBA.

“I can’t get enough NBA,” Cuban told ESPNDallas.com via the Cyber Dust messaging app. “Best entertainment in the world. So more is better.”

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tells Dan Le Batard about how he became successful, Roger Goodell's role as commissioner of the NFL and more.

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The Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics will play a 44-minute game Sunday -– four minutes shorter than the standard NBA game -– as the league tests a format with fewer minutes and fewer mandatory timeouts.

NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said in a statement that the league office is following up on a suggestion from the recent coaches’ meeting to consider a shorter format for games.

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters Tuesday that the length of games isn’t nearly as concerning as squeezing so many games into a short period of time, forcing many teams to play more than 20 back-to-backs in an 82-game season.

Cuban, who goes to great lengths looking for ways to help extend players’ careers, understood Spoelstra's point about the value of games but noted that trimming the NBA schedule would have a wide-reaching economic impact.

"More games are always a risk," Cuban said. "But we play in facilities and employ a lot of people who benefit from those games.”

Mavs near deal with Japanese point guard

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Mavericks are finalizing paperwork to sign Japanese point guard Yuki Togashi.

The plan is for the 21-year-old Togashi, who stands 5-foot-6 and weighs 145 pounds, to spend the rest of the preseason with the Mavs before joining their D-League affiliate Texas Legends.

"It's going to be a great experience," Togashi said.

The Legends will automatically own Togashi's rights in the likely event that he is waived by the Mavs.

Togashi played the last season and a half in the Japanese pro league and was on the Mavs' summer league team.
DALLAS -- Jae Crowder carved out a niche as a versatile defensive stopper during his first couple of seasons with the Dallas Mavericks.

Crowder wants to be much more.

Jae Crowder
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsJae Crowder focused on his offensive game during the offseason.
Crowder is well aware that he’ll never be a go-to guy for the Mavs. But he firmly believes he can be much more effective as a scorer and playmaker than he has been in his first two seasons, when Crowder averaged 4.8 points and 1.0 assist in 16.7 minutes per game, shooting 40.9 percent from the floor and 32.9 percent from 3-point range.

“I’m trying to make plays on the other end, not just be one-dimensional,” Crowder said. “I’m a much better player than just a defensive player, but I do bring a lot of defense to my team and that is what has gotten me on the court in my two years in the league. I’m just trying to grow my game and expand my game as much as possible.”

Crowder proved he can be that kind of playmaker, at least at a lower level, by posting triple-doubles in his only two D-League appearances last season. But the Dallas decision-makers don’t envision Crowder developing into an offensive focal point for the Mavs.

Owner Mark Cuban mentions gritty stoppers such as Memphis’ Tony Allen or former San Antonio Spurs pest Bruce Bowen when discussing Crowder’s potential. By the numbers, Crowder was Dallas’ best defensive player last season, when his defensive rating of 99.0 points per 100 possessions was by far the lowest on the roster. (Crowder’s net rating of plus-12.1 was also the Mavs’ best.)

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Monta Ellis (knee) returns to practice

October, 13, 2014
Oct 13
DALLAS -- Mavericks guard Monta Ellis returned to practice Monday, only four days after suffering a slight sprain to his left knee.

“We started out with the idea that he was just going to do noncontact stuff, but he felt good and wanted to keep going,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He went through the entire practice, which is great.”

Ellis, who declined to comment, prides himself on his durability. He was the only Maverick to play all 82 games last season, the second straight year that he didn’t miss a game. He has proven to be a remarkably quick healer before, playing through a hamstring strain that the Mavs expected to sideline him for 10 days last season.

Carlisle wasn’t ready to commit to Ellis playing in either of the Mavs’ back-to-back preseason games this weekend, but the guard should be available unless he has a setback.

“The signs today are good,” Carlisle said. “Tomorrow’s another day and we’ll just keep going, but it’s great to see him out here.”

Carlisle said Ellis, who averaged 19.0 points and a team-high 5.7 assists last season, was having an outstanding training camp before suffering the injury. Ellis picked up where he left off during Monday’s practice.

“I didn’t know he was practicing today and he was moving great,” center Tyson Chandler said. “His speed is just unbelievable.”

Chandler was referring to Ellis’ foot speed, but his recovery speed is pretty remarkable, too.
DALLAS -- Breaking news: Dirk Nowitzki is still good at basketball.

Nowitzki’s preseason debut Sunday night went about as well as the Dallas Mavericks could have hoped. The 16-year veteran power forward scored 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, grabbed five rebounds and dished out a couple of assists in 19 minutes before watching the second half of the Mavs’ 106-98 win over the Indiana Pacers from the pine.

“They were saying I’ve got fresh legs,” Nowitzki said, referring to the ribbing he took from teammates. “At 36, I’m not sure there is such a thing as fresh legs.”

[+] EnlargeDirk Nowitzki
Danny Bollinger/NBAE/Getty Images"They were saying I've got fresh legs," Dirk Nowitzki said of his fast start to the preseason. "At 36, I'm not sure there is such a thing as fresh legs."
Nowitzki didn’t play in the first two preseason games due to a right hip contusion, but it’s not like he had his feet up all week. He took a couple of days off after suffering the injury in a minor collision during an Oct. 4 intrasquad scrimmage and has done conditioning work and shooting drills every day since.

The big German certainly didn’t look rusty Sunday, drilling a 19-footer on the game’s opening possession and knocking down his first three shots. The Mavs’ plan was to push Nowitzki’s minutes up higher than normal in the first half and let him rest after that to ease him back into game action.

“It worked out well, and we’ve got to build on it,” coach Rick Carlisle said.

For Nowitzki, the preseason is all about finding the right mix of reps and rest. The original plan was for Nowitzki to sit out this game, but the schedule got thrown off when he banged his hip. He is scheduled to sit out two more preseason games because the Mavs won’t have him play back-to-backs that don’t count in the standings.

“I’ll probably play the rest and keep working,” Nowitzki said.

The Mavs’ offense tends to work much better with Nowitzki on the floor. That’s not exactly classified information, either, but this was the first time that Mavs newcomers Jameer Nelson and Chandler Parsons got to experience those benefits.

“You have a guy of that caliber and it’s going to be easier for everybody,” said Nelson, the point guard who scored seven points and dished out 10 assists in 25 minutes against the Pacers. “He draws so much attention and the defense plays him different than other guys. There was a lot more spacing out there on the court.”

Parsons, who had 11 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes, agreed.

“It was just one game," he said, "but he makes things easier. A lot of defenses hug up on him and aren’t going to help off him because he’s such a good shooter. It’ll be fun.”

The Mavs will have to wait to get their full starting five on the floor together for game action. Shooting guard Monta Ellis sat out his second consecutive game with a sprained left knee, and his status for next weekend’s back-to-back on the road is uncertain.

The starting lineup features three new pieces, including center Tyson Chandler, so some significant preseason time together would be ideal. But at least the biggest piece of the puzzle is healthy and looks like himself.

“I think we’re experienced enough, but, yeah, you want to get some reps. So hopefully Monta will come back soon, and we can get some minutes in,” Nowitzki said. “I think the first week of training camp everybody was healthy, so we practiced with the starting five some. But we look forward to getting some more work in and be sharp hopefully down in San Antonio for Game 1.”



Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9