Mavericks work around injuries in victory over Hawks

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The rotation coach Rick Carlisle rolled out during Wednesday’s 98-88 victory over Atlanta at American Airlines Center will likely be the same rotation he’ll unveil when the Dallas Mavericks open the regular season in six days against these same Hawks.

For now, the Mavericks are without Brandan Wright (shoulder), Devin Harris (toe) and rookie Shane Larkin (ankle). Wright and Harris are virtual locks to be in Carlisle’s rotation and are slated to be an integral part of what the Mavericks will try to accomplish this season.

Harris and Larkin will not be ready to play on opening day. Wright isn’t sure if he’ll be available, either.

As far as who will spell starting point guard Jose Calderon until Harris returns, Carlisle said that task belongs to rookie Gal Mekel, with shooting guard Monta Ellis sliding over at times to run the offense.

“I don’t want to get into that because I don’t want to get into any odd-ball karma here,” Carlisle said. “But if you’re asking if Larkin and Harris are going to be ready [opening day], the answer is no.

“Those guys are progressing well, but their timetable is not an immediate one. Shane is going to be back sooner than Devin.”

Meanwhile, DeJuan Blair and Bernard James will back up Samuel Dalembert at center until Wright returns. Blair, who signed a one-year, $884,293 free-agent contract with the Mavericks over the summer, just wants a chance to prove his worth.

“I’ve just got to do my job and see how [Carlisle] handles everything and how he puts me out there,” Blair said. “It’s a great opportunity, but it’s up to him at the end of the day.”

Against the Hawks, the Mavericks got 17 points from Dirk Nowitzki, 15 points and five assists from Ellis, 12 points and seven boards from Shawn Marion, 12 points from Vince Carter, while Jose Calderon and Jae Crowder each finished with 10 points.

When asked if he liked what he got from his starting five, Carlisle said: “I think we can do better.”

Brand surprised

Elton Brand was on the American Airlines Center court Wednesday, but was surprised he wasn’t wearing a Mavericks uniform.

Brand averaged 7.2 points and six rebounds in 21.2 minutes a game last season for the Mavericks, but wasn’t retained when he became a free agent over the summer.

“I was a little surprised, but they were in the hunt,” Brand told the Star-Telegram. “They had to get their [salary] cap situation straight and they did tender an offer.”

Brand wound up signing a one-year, $4 million contract with Atlanta but admits he misses the Mavs.

“I only spent a year here, but the way the organization is you become close with your teammates and the coaching staff, but also the employees,” Brand said. “Those are like your friends, so it was kind of surreal seeing those guys again.”

No fine for Nowitzki

As far as the NBA is concerned, the Flagrant Foul 2 forward Dirk Nowitzki picked up Monday against Houston is a non-issue.

An NBA source said Wednesday he understood Nowitzki will not be fined or suspended after he committed a the flagrant foul late in the third period against the Rockets. Nowitzki was ejected from the game with 24.5 seconds remaining in the third period for inadvertently walloping Rockets forward Omri Casspi on the head during a drive to the basket.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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