Despite having as much as a 16 point first half lead, the Dallas Mavericks were not able to retain it, falling at home to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night by a final score of 99-87.
This was Tyson Chandler’s first appearance at the American Airlines Center since his unceremonious departure from Dallas in July, when Mark Cuban and Co. opted not to resign him. Although he did not play, Chandler exchanged pleasantries with J.J. Barea, Raymond Felton and others before the game.
For the first time all preseason, the Dallas Mavericks finally came out with a spark in the first quarter, jumping out to an early 11 point lead.
John Jenkins was impressive once again, as the shooting guard led all scorers with 22 points on 9 of 20 shooting.
Dallas took a 56-43 lead into the locker room, but were outscored 56-31 in the second half. Carlisle said the shots simply stopped falling, a big reason why the team did not retain its lead.
“Its a lot easier when the ball is going in the basket,” Carlisle said. “What’s more concerning is some guys missed wide open looks.”
Point guard Raymond Felton also continued his hot start to the year, notching 17 points while shooting 8 of 12 from the field. His night was done in the third quarter when Carlisle pulled him as a precautionary measure.
“We don’t want to over work him. We want to make sure he stays fresh.” Carlisle said.
Felton said he has been in a groove this preseason largely in part to his health, and not having to deal with injuries.
“I’m staying on the floor, and that’s the biggest thing.” Felton said.
Carlisle also praised the Suns, and added they are a much improved team from last season, particularly with the addition of Chandler in the front court.
“Teams are going to have their hands full with them,” Carlisle said, “They play hard and they compete. They didn’t even have their full compliment of guys out there tonight and they still executed well.”
With the loss, Dallas remains the only team in the NBA to not record a win. Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and Wesley Mathews all did not play tonight.
The Mavericks travel to Chicago to take on the Bulls in their final preseason game. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. CST.