While the Mavs had home-court advantage at their American Airlines Center, there were a few disadvantages that led them to fall short to the former Hornets on Monday night. First of all, they were without a few of their key players due to injury, but what hurt Dallas even more were the turnovers.
One of the DNPs was new Dallas point guard and potential starter Jose Calderon (hamstring), who had previously played for the Detroit Pistons and most recently played for Spain in the Eurobasket. However, NBA rookie Gal Mekel, who was a MVP in Israel, came through as the starting PG at tipoff.
Joining him in the starting lineup were veterans Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, plus newbies Samuel Dalembert and Monta Ellis. Other injured players who were kept from the game were Devin Harris, who is recovering from a left foot operation, and Shane Larkin, whose right ankle is fractured.
While both teams had strong players on the hardwood to keep the game interesting with a close score, the Mavs’ main setback was always letting the ball get away. They worked on defense during much of training camp, but now must make sure that they also practice keeping the ball to prevent these TOs.
Of course, the most critical point of regulation – especially during an edge-of-your-seat game with a tight margin like this one – is toward the end, and New Orleans guard Brian Roberts was clutch, leading to his team’s first preseason “W” as the Pelicans.
During the first half alone, the Mavericks already had 17 TOs, which was more than the 16 that the Pelicans incurred throughout the entire game. The Mavs finished with 28 total TOs, something that they must seriously minimize in their next preseason game, which is on the road as the Memphis Grizzlies host them on Wednesday.