The first preseason game for the Dallas Mavericks wasn’t much different than the Mavericks fans saw all of last year. The few names on the roster have changed, but it was the same results. The Mavericks are still struggling with ball security. They haven’t gotten any better on defense, and they struggled to close out the game.
I understand it’s the only the first preseason game, but I would think with nine new players added to the roster, things may be different.
The Dallas Mavericks struggled with ball security all last year. They averaged 14 turnovers a game and ranked fourth overall in turnovers. In their first preseason game, nothing had changed. Dallas had 28 turnovers, including 17 of them in the first half. Head Coach Rick Carlisle called it “ugly” and added “I don’t ever think I have ever seen 17 turnovers in one half before.”
The Mavericks do have multiple injuries at the point guard position. Starting point guard Jose Calderon (hamstring), Devin Harris (toe) and Shane Larkin (ankle) are all sidelined with injuries. So that leaves rookie point guard Gal Mekel to run the show. He had five turnovers, but what was most concerning was that most were unforced.
Hopefully, we can attribute most of the turnovers to the fact that it’s the first preseason game and that they haven’t played much together yet, but you can’t win with 28 turnovers.
The Mavericks’ interior defense was poor as well. New Orleans Pelicans‘ Anthony Davis had at least five uncontested lay-ups. The Pelicans had 42 shot attempts in the paint mostly due in part to the slow and often confused Mavericks defensive rotations.
It didn’t help the cause that starting center Samuel Dalembert had three fouls in the first quarter. After the game, Carlisle admitted that Dalembert is out of shape and has been struggling with a few nagging injuries. Despite some rocky defense early on, the Mavericks took five-point lead into the fourth quarter but just like we saw last season, Dallas was outscored 32-25 in the final quarter and lost to the New Orleans Pelicans 94-92.
Now I know all the starters where on the bench and the preseason doesn’t matter, but I expected better effort on the defensive end, especially after Carlisle opened training camp with a “defense-only practice”. Tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies is another opportunity for the Mavericks to make improvements, and I expect many of the areas that they struggled in to be cleaned up.