The gloves came off Friday night as the Dallas Mavericks started their best five players against the Indians Pacers’ top five players.
And it was only a preseason game.
As it turned out, the Mavs were not ready for prime time as the Pacers used a blistering second-half surge to knock out the Mavs 98-77 before 19,107 at American Airlines Center.
Afterward, forward Shawn Marion, who collected 10 points, six rebounds and four turnovers, was bothered more by his team’s inconsistencies and 25 turnovers than anything else.
“Sometimes some games you’re going to have turnovers, but it’s just the way it happened,” Marion said. “I understand at some point everybody was like we just want to get the preseason over with.
“But it’s still a certain kind of respect for the game you’ve got to have. I think you just leave it on the floor regardless of if it counts or not, especially when you’re complaining about your minutes.”
The Mavs finished preseason with a 4-4 record and will open the regular season at home at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Pacers turned a 51-43 deficit into an 89-68 lead within a 15-minute span of the second half.
“We made a lot of mistakes tonight that are kind of ‘beat yourself mistakes,’” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ve been talking about it all training camp that one of the calling cards of this team has got to be that we don’t beat ourselves, and we did a lot of it tonight, but Indiana had a lot to do with it.
“They’re the top defensive team in the league, they have great defenders, they have great length, they have tenacity and they have toughness, and they made a lot of that stuff happen. But we’ve got to do better.”
The Pacers (3-5) started the same five players who started Game 7 of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat — forwards Paul George and David West, center Roy Hibbert, and guards Lance Stephenson and George Hill.
The Mavs, who shot 37 percent and were outrebounded 53-43, countered with forwards Dirk Nowitzki and Marion, center Samuel Dalembert, and guards Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon.
For most of the second half, it was no contest.
“We were playing against a good team, but we’ve got to get better all around,” said Calderon, who finished with five points, four assists and three turnovers. “In the first 2 1/2 quarters, I think we were playing good; we were competing against a good team.”
“Afterwards, they turned it up and we couldn’t keep up with them.”
About 1,000 tickets at various prices are still available for the Mavs’ regular-season opener Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks, putting the team’s record sellout streak in jeopardy.
Tickets can be purchased at mavs.com, the American Airlines Center box office or by calling 214-747-MAVS.
The Mavs own the longest consecutive active sellout streak in all of the four major sports. Dating to Dec. 15, 2001, the Mavs have sold out 477 straight games.
Ellis not on point
Don’t look for shooting guard Monta Ellis to get much playing time at point guard this season.
Not if Rick Carlisle has anything to do with it.
“I think it’ll be better if we can keep him at shooting guard as much as possible,” Carlisle said. “That will help his minutes from going way up, but we’ll see. It’s going to be on a game-to-game basis.”