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Justin Jackson stands out in Mavericks preseason opener against the Thunder

Photo: Michael Lark/Dallas Sports Fanatic

Justin Jackson stands out in Mavericks preseason opener against the Thunder

The Mavericks 2019-2020 (pre)season has officially started!

Dallas got its exhibition schedule underway a few hours north with a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Tuesday night and despite Jalen Rose’s requests, they did not give the people what they want. Both reigning Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis were not in uniform as the Mavericks fell to the Thunder skd

Some of us, ahem… me, prematurely shared our excitement for seeing Porzingis don a Dallas uniform on an NBA court for the first time early on Tuesday only for our hopes to be dashed when Rick Carlisle announced that he wouldn’t be active when he spoke to the media at the morning shootaround. Doncic’s absence wasn’t made clear until about 90 minutes before tip-off.  Mavs Twitter wasn’t happy. Oh well, it’s preseason and both are expected to play on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons.

In the game, the first half did seem to feature both teams playing what will be their regular players and exulting maximum effort on one side of the court (the non-defense side), so there were a few things worth noting.

Justin Jackson makes his case for the starting lineup
One of the biggest question marks still lingering around the Mavericks is who will join the anticipated starting quartet of Doncic, Porzingis, Dwight Powell and Delon Wright?  While there are several options on the roster, Justin Jackson started out the debate with a strong statement in Tuesday night’s game.

The third year forward out of North Carolina showed exactly what Mavericks fans hoped he could do with the ability to sink open three’s and to occasionally put the ball on the floor and score in the paint. Jackson finished with 14 points in just 15 minutes while shooting 6-8 from the floor overall and a perfect 4-4 from inside the three-point line.

Other candidates for the starting wing position were less satisfying as Dorian Finney-Smith went just 1-2 from the field in 15 minutes and Tim Hardaway Jr. went a poor 1-7 overall in 15 minutes.  Considering they all played 15 minutes, Jackson definitely has the upper hand on the starting spot after game one of the preseason.

Seth Curry and Jalen Brunson backcourt off the bench? Yes, please.
Late in the first quarter and early in the second, we got a glimpse of a bench lineup that featured a backcourt of Seth Curry and Jalen Brunson.  At 6’2 and 6’1, respectively, the pair likely doesn’t strike fear into an opposing lineup with their physical appearance, but both of their abilities to make plays and shoot create a really nice 1-2 punch for a Mavericks bench unit this season.

Brunson really played well all around down the stretch last season and beat reporters have indicated team brass is really excited about his offseason improvement.  He showed it on Tuesday night with 10 points and 5 assists in just 13 minutes.  Curry played just 9 minutes but gave a little sampler platter of what is so exciting about his skillset with nailing an open corner three and finding Maxi Kleber for an alley-oop finish.

The best of the rest
Boban Marjanovic played just 9 first half minutes but he nailed an open three pointer that sure was fun.

Guys who might have forced a bit too much as they were looking to make impressions include two-way contract players like Josh Reaves and Antonius Cleveland (combined 5-20 from the field), training camp invitee Dakota Mathias (2-9 shooting line) and second round pick Isaiah Roby (1-6 from the field and an awful lot of dribbling when there were other ball handlers on the floor).

The feel good story of the night has to be Japanese training camp invitee Yudai Baba. In 17 second half minutes, the 23-year-old went all out with 7 points on 3-4 shooting and four personal fouls.  He had a nice driving layup where he initially started with the ball on the sideline at halfcourt but got past his defender and all the way to the hoop for the finish.  Him making the team seems unlikely, but him getting comfortable with the organization and making the most of an opportunity in Frisco with the Texas Legends will be very exciting for him and his supporters around the globe.


The Mavericks keep the preseason train rolling with a game tomorrow night at 6 PM in the Motor City against the Detroit Pistons.  Will we see Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic?  As someone who woke up on Tuesday morning hoping to see them play in Tulsa, I sure hope so. Tune into Fox Sports Southwest to find out.

Editor and credentialed media writer covering the Dallas Mavericks and Texas Rangers | Born and raised in Dallas, I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Texas in 2014 after majoring in Radio/TV/Film. I'm a lover of all sports and support every DFW team. For random sports and other thoughts, find me on Twitter: @DylanDuell

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