Donnie Nelson is a realist.
The general manager of the Dallas Mavericks knows his team must be at its best when it plays its second preseason game today at 2 p.m. CDT in Barcelona, Spain, against FC Barcelona Regal.
If the Mavericks turn the ball over 27 times like they did during Saturday's 89-84 victory over Alba Berlin, Nelson believes they might be coming back to Texas with a 1-1 record.
FC Barcelona Regal won its 17th Spanish championship last year when it beat Real Madrid in the finals and is one of Europe's toughest leagues.
"We need to play a lot better than we did in Berlin, or Barcelona will hand us our collective heads," Nelson said in a news conference from Spain. "The boys have got to knock the summer rust off quickly.
"Eight new faces and only several days of practice, [sloppy play] is expected. But we all want to win these for the German Gipper."
The "German Gipper," of course, is forward Dirk Nowitzki, who scored eight points during the Mavericks' win in his home country of Germany this past weekend.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks were ecstatic to see center Chris Kaman score 14 points, grab six rebounds and block two shots in 23 minutes against Alba Berlin.
They were pleased with the way guard Darren Collison, who contributed 14 points and nine assists, ran the offense.
"Happy with Collison and Kaman, but we all have a lot of work ahead of us," Nelson said.
Millions of Americans remember the 1992 Olympic Dream Team that demolished every foe in sight en route to claiming a gold medal.
The star-studded squad with Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and company is arguably the most prolific team ever assembled.
But not many remember that a shocker took place in the third-place game that year when the tiny nation of Lithuania upset Russia in the bronze medal game. Donnie Nelson was an assistant coach for Lithuania in the '92 Olympics, and also received the prestigious Grand Cross of the Commander by the president of Lithuania in 2004.
The Lithuanian team lacked adequate funding during the '92 Olympics, but the rock band The Grateful Dead stepped in and sponsored the team and tie-dye warmups the Lithuanians wore on the medal stand. Now, the Lithuanians' heart-warming story has been made into a movie called The Other Dream Team, which will be released this weekend.
Williams on Cuban
Free agent point guard Deron Williams told New York reporters Monday that one of the reasons he chose not to sign with the Mavericks this past summer was because owner Mark Cuban failed to attend a July 2 meeting with him in New York.
Coach Rick Carlisle, general manager Donnie Nelson and special consultant Michael Finley were the Mavericks' contingent who met with Williams in an attempt to get the Brooklyn Nets' free agent to sign with Dallas. Cuban, meanwhile, was in Los Angeles because he had a prior commitment to be on the set of his TV show, Shark Tank.
"I think, if he was there, he would have been able to answer those questions a little bit better, [and] maybe would have helped me," Williams said.
Williams re-signed with the Nets. Cuban has since said the Mavericks were better off not signing Williams.
Guard Rodrigue Beaubois will sit out tonight's game after spraining his left ankle against Alba Berlin.
Beaubois injured his ankle in the third quarter and was wearing a protective boot after the game. But he is no longer walking with the boot, a sign of significant progress.
Beaubois is listed as day-to-day.
Center Brandan Wright, who strained his left quadriceps on the second day of practice on Sept. 30, did not play against Alba Berlin and also is listed as day-to-day.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760