LINCOLN, Neb. – Now that the final second have finally ticked away, the Dallas Mavericks were the only NBA team that didn’t win a preseason game this fall.
But don’t try telling that to coach Rick Carlisle, who brushed aside his team’s 0-7 record like it was a fly on his arm.
"I don’t even know the record,’’ Carlisle said. "I just know that there’s certain parts of these games that I’m keeping score.
"We do have some wins, but they didn’t start showing up.’’
Besieged with injuries throughout preseason, the Mavs got two of their injured starters back – Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews – for Friday’s preseason finale against the Chicago Bulls. But the Bulls used a 15-footer by Doug McDermott with one second left to beat the Mavs 103-102 before a sellout crowd of 15,297 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Mavs played without two of their other injured starters – Chandler Parsons and JaVale McGee. Thus, leading up to Wednesday’s regular season opener in Phoenix, the Mavs were never able put their starting five on the court, which could lead to some interesting moments against the Suns.
"This is a process,’’ Carlisle said. "We’ve got to go through it.
"The guys have done a good job with it. The next four days are important leading up to the opener.’’
Against the Bulls, the Mavs started Zaza Pachulia at center, Dirk Nowitzki at power forward, Matthews at small forward, Williams at point guard and Raymond Felton at shooting guard. Basically, it was a three-guard lineup, since Matthews is actually a shooting guard.
The Mavs led 32-28 after the first period and 53-49 at the half. But neither Williams nor Matthews played in the second half after they each were on the court at the same time for 16 minutes apiece in the first half.
"That group is going to play well together,’’ Carlisle said. "They all have a good feel for the game.
"You add Parsons to the mix – he’s another guy that really knows how to play, flows -- Zaza. It’s going to be a really good group once we get them all together and get them out there for some extended minutes, but tonight was a real good strep in the right direction.’’
Nowitzki led the Mavs with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting in 26 minutes, Dwight Powell collected 14 points and 11 rebounds in only 20 minutes, John Jenkins scored 13 in 16 minutes, and Pachulia finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
But the excitement in all the Mavs’ voices could be heard loud and clear with the return of Williams and Matthews. Now, they’re awaiting the return of Parsons and McGee.
"When we’re healthy that’s going to be exciting,’’ forward Charlie Villanueva said. "I can’t wait to get everybody back on the floor to see what we can do.
"So far I think the chemistry off the court has been amazing. I know on the court we haven’t had that much time together – guys being hurt and what-not -- but it’s a good group of guys and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.’’
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. on dfwiradio.com.