It took only one game for center Samuel Dalembert to redeem himself after the underwhelming performance he turned in Monday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.
During Wednesday’s 95-90 triumph over the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum that squared the Mavs’ preseason record at 1-1, Dalembert collected 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. He was 4 of 6 from the field while committing two turnovers in 20 minutes.
That’s a far cry better than the egg Dalembert laid against the Pelicans when he finished with four points, two rebounds and four turnovers in only 11 minutes. And it’s certainly what the Mavs expected from Dalembert when they signed him to a two-year, $7.5 million free agent contract this summer.
“I’ve been working on getting the strength in my back just back to where I’m capable of being [a factor],” Dalembert said. “I’ve been active and moving and feeling good, and today I felt much better.”
Dalembert still has to work on staying out of foul trouble.
Against the Pelicans, the Mavs’ pivot-man picked up three fouls in the first period and had his fourth 8 seconds into the third quarter. Against the Grizzlies, he was charged with only one foul in the first half, but inexplicably was charged for three more quick fouls with 10:06 remaining in the third period.
Still, the Mavs were thoroughly pleased with Dalembert.
“He did a terrific job and he carried the momentum of a really terrific practice [Tuesday] into tonight,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “The biggest thing is he was in position all night, his length was a major factor, he rebounded, and he’s getting more in-tune to what we’re doing.”
The Mavs also were pleased they were able to trim their turnover numberfrom the 28 they had against the Pelicans to 16 against the Grizzlies.
However, rookie point guard Gal Mekel had four turnovers after committing five against New Orleans.
“This experience is so valuable, and he’ll keep learning,” Carlisle said of Mekel. “He’s a smart guy; every game in a new experience.”
The experience has been like juggling for Mekel.
“I’m still learning, this is new for me,” said Mekel, who was only 2 of 9 from the floor. “Every game I’ll feel more confident and free.”
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 20 points and six rebounds, Vince Carter tallied 12 and Monta Ellis wound up with 11 points and eight assists. But it was the yeoman’s effort by Dalembert that stole the show.
“I feel very confident in what I’m contributing, which is the rebounding, the blocked shots and control the paint,” Dalembert said. “As you can see today when we started the game we’ve got a good chemistry going, a good flow going.”
Center Brandan Wright sat out Wednesday’s game with a sore left shoulder. But he said the injury isn’t anything serious and that he only missed the game for “precautionary reasons.”
Wright added 15 pounds over the summer as he decided to bulk up for the rugged action inside the paint.
“I felt better the first game,” said Wright, who had a team-high 14 points during Monday’s loss. “I think the biggest thing is I’m quicker laterally, and I didn’t know I was going to be like that.”
Wright joins Jose Calderon (hamstring), Devin Harris (toe) and rookie Shane Larkin (ankle) as injured Mavs.
St. Jude hospital visit
The Mavericks spent about an hour at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital after Wednesday’s shootaround.
The Mavs took a tour of the facility, signed some autographs and conversed with the kids.
“It was a real good experience,” center Bernard James said. “We got to sign some autographs with the kids and talk to them a little bit and kind of see the St. Jude facility and everything they’re doing there.
“It’s built to be more comfortable, more inviting, like a home. That was a great move on their part to put the kids at ease and maybe see where they would be more comfortable there instead of being scared.”