Tony Gutierrez, AP
The Dallas Mavericks dropped their first game of the preseason to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night by a final score of 96-86.
As one could expect, both teams were shaking off the rust early. Denver jumped out to a 30-16 lead by the end of the first quarter, with the Mavericks only shooting 27 percent from the field.
The Mavericks got it turned around in the second quarter, outscoring the Nuggets 30-23 with the help of multiple three pointers from Charlie Villanueva, who ended the night with 18 points on 8 for 17 shooting, leading all scorers.
Unfortunately, Dallas came out of the locker room flat, as both teams failed to score more than 20 points in the third quarter. There were multiple opportunities on chances from pick and rolls and nice ball movement, but for the majority of the night, the shots just weren’t falling.
The Mavericks would cut the Denver lead to six at 87-81 with just under five minutes to play, but the Nuggets made another late run to put the game away.
After the game, head coach Rick Carlisle emphasized the importance of not turning the ball over, and said moving forward, that will be an issue the team addresses.
“Just way too many tonight,” he said. “We have to take better care of the ball because turnovers result in points the other way.”
Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams, four of the five projected Dallas starters once everyone gets healthy did not play.
Parsons is still recovering from knee surgery, but had plenty of bounce in his step pre-game as he shot about 30 jumpers while finishing layups around the rim. The goal is for him to return by opening night in about three weeks.
Wes Matthews also warmed up before the game, but only did spot up shooting. It’s pretty apparent he isn’t 100 percent yet, but as he made clear on media day, he does not want to wait until Christmas to return.
Rookie and first round pick Justin Anderson struggled in his first professional game, scoring only one point while blocking two shots and grabbing a rebound. After the game he said he was not concerned with what his stat line looked like in the box score.
“Absolutely not, I’m not worried at a all,” Anderson said. “I know what my role is on this team and right now I’m just trying to improve.”
Dallas will take on the Houston Rockets tonight. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. CST.
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