Tablet Sports

Mavericks’ starting unit debuts with victory

What an impressive showing by the Dallas Mavericks’ first unit in its Friday night preseason game at Quicken Loans Arena.

Playing their first game together and going against a quality Cleveland Cavaliers squad that is considered a definite NBA title contender, the Mavs made themselves right at home with a 108-102 victory.

This was the first time the Mavs’ projected starting lineup of Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Jameer Nelson and Tyson Chandler have been on the court together. And they got the Mavs flying out of the gate with a 25-18 lead less than seven minutes into the game.

“We did some good things,” said coach Rick Carlisle, whose team plays at Indiana at 6 p.m. Saturday. “We’ve got a ways to go with the chemistry.

“At times the ball was really moving and we were screening and doing good things on offense. We were playing a lot of zone tonight, so we knew there were going to be some tough stretches with that because it’s a very skilled team, but all in all without looking at the film, I’d say it’s positive.”

Parsons and Nelson each scored 19 points for the Mavs. Nowitzki had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Ellis finished with 13 points and eight assists. Devin Harris contributed 13 points and Brandan Wright added 11 points in only 12 minutes.

The Cavs (4-1) played without Kevin Love and Shawn Marion, but got 23 points from Kyrie Irving and 12 from LeBron James.

About the only blemish for the Mavs came with 5:36 remaining in the game when Ellis called time out and limped off the court with Dallas nursing a 97-86 lead.

“He banged his knee,” Carlisle said. “Nothing serious.”

Praising Haywood

Owner Mark Cuban said backup center Brendan Haywood had a lot to do with the Mavericks winning the 2011 NBA title, especially against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round.

“I think B-Wood is as much responsible when we beat the Trail Blazers [in six games] for him just beating up on LaMarcus [Aldridge] and wearing him down,” Cuban said before Friday’s win over the Cavs. “He was critical for us.”

Haywood, in his first year with the Cleveland Cavs, was appreciative of the two-plus seasons he had with the Mavs.

“I’ll never forget the 2011 championship season,” Haywood said. “It was a miraculous run. No one expected us to do it. We really came together as a team to do something special.”

Helping hand