DALLAS -- After what he saw during Wednesday's 100-94 loss to the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle knew he had to make sure his team fully understands his defensive principles.
Thus, a lot of Thursday's practice session was spent reteaching those principles, on the court and in the film room.
"Our practice today was very much geared towards defensive mentality, posture, disposition and finishing off plays," Carlisle said.
The challenge for Carlisle is that he has eight new players he's trying to incorporate into his system.
"It's doable," Carlisle said. "It's a lot of communication, a lot of individual meetings, a lot of film sessions.
"Today our film session was longer than our practice because we had to look and see areas that we need to get better. We also have to look at and see things we're doing well, to keep doing it."
The other challenge for Carlisle is that a lot of the players he brought in are more offensive-minded.
"The majority of these guys have been around and they know what wins in the NBA," Carlisle said. "And it starts with defense and rebounding. It's not a hard sell. It's just we've got to keep reminding them."
Of course, the new players have been trying to learn all these defensive principles and execute them without the Mavericks' franchise player, Dirk Nowitzki, who has missed three of the team's four preseason games.
Nowitzki has been experiencing swelling and soreness in his right knee and likely will sit out Saturday's preseason game at Atlanta.
"We have to go with the guys that are there as far as practice and exhibition games, and that's what we're doing," Carlisle said. "We hope his situation works out."
Rick Carlisle is pleased with the attitude and disposition that rookie Jae Crowder brings to the court.
"He's involved in more plays than anybody we have on our team," Carlisle said. "Just around the ball and those kinds of things. Some of that is a talent and some of that is just who he is as a guy."
The 6-foot-6 forward scored 18 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter of Monday's game against Houston. He added 10 points, six rebounds, five steals and three blocks during Wednesday's game against Phoenix.
"It's no shock," Carlisle said. "This is how he played in college [at Marquette] and this is why he was the Big East Player of the Year. It's not just because he scored the ball."
The Mavericks have been without guard Rodrigue Beaubois since he sprained his left ankle during the preseason opener against Alba Berlin on Oct. 6.
"Roddy did good [Thursday]," Rick Carlisle said. "I expect him to practice [today] and if he gets through [today], then I expect him to play on Saturday [against Atlanta]."
The Mavericks waived guard Josh Akognon, who was signed as free agent on Sept. 27.
Akognon played in three preseason games and averaged 2.3 points in 3.7 minutes.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760