Mavs limit mistakes but struggle on the boards

DALLAS -- For the most part, the Dallas Mavericks were able to accomplish what they wanted to get accomplished Monday night against the New Orleans Hornets.

The Mavs kept their turnovers to a minimum, enabling them to get out of American Airlines Center with an 87-74 triumph over the Hornets and even their preseason record at 3-3.

Dallas finished with a preseason-low 10 turnovers. However, the Mavs were badly bruised on the boards as the Hornets won that battle in crushing fashion, 62-40, including 20-4 on the offensive end.

"The rebounding was an issue tonight," coach Rick Carlisle said. "A lot of it had to do with their length, and some of it had to do with our positioning, so we're going to continue to study that and it's going to be a continuing area of focus."

With Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery) and Chris Kaman (strained right calf) out, the Mavs are playing without a pair of 7-footers who normally would be in the lineup and could help them on the boards.

"Of course we're losing size, we're losing scoring ability, we're losing a lot," said Elton Brand, who starts in Nowitzki's power forward spot. "So we have to kind of hustle a little bit more, tip the balls out, play aggressive in the passing lanes and get out on the break.

"We're a lot smaller, so we have to be a lot quicker."

Dallas plays Oklahoma City in Wichita, Kan., on Wednesday before concluding preseason play Friday at home against Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats.

With the Hornets converting just 4 of 22 baskets in the first period, the Mavs carried a 25-10 advantage into the second quarter and kept the pressure on for the balance of the game. The lead swelled to 66-46 late in the third before New Orleans got it down to eight (74-66) with 5:42 left in the game.

But rookie Jae Crowder and Vince Carter drilled 3-pointers and the Mavs were able to win while overcoming their rebounding deficit and 36 percent shooting.

O.J. Mayo led the Mavs with 13 points, Rodrigue Beaubois and Crowder scored 12 apiece, and Carter added 11. Beaubois was efficient while playing 20 minutes, making 3 of 7 shots, including 2 of 5 from 3-point range.

No go-to guy

With Dirk Nowitzki out for six weeks, Rick Carlisle acknowledged that the Mavs won't have a clear-cut go-to guy they can turn to when they need a key basket.

"It's not going to be as simple as throwing the ball in to a guy," Carlisle said.

"I'd rather just stay away from the Dirk questions until he's back. We've got to concentrate on our game, which is significantly different."

Kaman sits again

Center Chris Kaman sat out his second straight game while nursing a strained right calf and is listed as day-to-day.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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