ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Chuck Cooperstein, aka "The Voice of the Mavericks", is with the Dallas Mavericks on their first European excursion and will blog on the team's events daily for ESPNDallas.com.
Game day is here. After three full days of hoopla (no pun intended), the Mavericks open up the preseason vs Alba Berlin, eight-time champions of the German League. And yet, it’s always good to remember that this is the first of eight preseason games. A lot of players will see action, and it does figure to be raggedy at some point.
Still, this game is a little bit different. The game will be played primarily under NBA rules. As we saw in the Olympics, the rules differences between the NBA and FIBA -- the governing body of basketball everywhere outside the NBA -- aren’t that great. There will be three notable differences.
* There is no charge circle underneath the basket. Yet with NBA commissioner David Stern in the building for the game, will anyone really want to test the depth of the league’s commitment to their new no-flopping rules?
* There is no defensive three second violation. Teams can play whatever defense they want.
* On free throws, there is no early entry into the lane on the shot. The ball has to hit the rim first.
There will be two NBA officials (Zach Zarba and Sean Wright) and one official assigned by FIBA. Both Zarba and Wright will work the game in Barcelona on Tuesday night as well.
Mavericks expected starting lineup: