Mavericks point guard starting to find groove after sluggish start

For years, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was critical of the NBA for allowing its players to play in the Olympics for their native country, with the NBA picking up the insurance tab in case those players were injured.

Cuban, however, doesn’t believe Jose Calderon’s recent injury and slow start has anything to do with his participation for Spain in the EuroBasket League.

Calderon missed the first four preseason games with a strained left hamstring and has gotten off to a sluggish start for the Mavs.

That injury occurred on the second day of training camp, which started less than two weeks after the point guard finished playing competitive basketball in the EuroBasket League.

Cuban, though, doesn’t think Calderon’s slow start has anything to do with his off-season basketball duties for his native Spain.

“Playing over the summer, I don’t think that’s it at all,” Cuban said. “If anything he should be ready to go. But obviously something’s there and the ball’s not going in.”

Calderon entered Saturday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies with just five points on 1-of-15 shooting, including 0-of-8 on 3-pointers. But against the Grizzlies, Calderon scored 14 points and was 4-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-7 on 3-pointers as the Mavs stretched their record to 2-1 with a 111-99 victory.

As the Mavs prepare to host the Los Angeles Lakers at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at American Airlines Center, Calderon reflected on his slow start.

“Sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes not,” he said. “You’ve just got to be strong mentally and keep shooting the ball.

“Not playing those four preseason games, it has taken me a little bit longer than it’s supposed to, but I feel OK. It’s 82 games. It’s how you finish, it’s not how you start.”

Nowitzki passes Pettit

Forward Dirk Nowitzki moved past Bob Pettit on Saturday and is 14th on the all-time list in free throws made with 6,184.

Nowitzki is third on the active list behind Kobe Bryant (7,932) and Paul Pierce (6,446).

Nowitzki is 168 points behind Kevin Garnett from moving into 14th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Nowitzki is third on the active list with 21,121 points and trails only Bryant (31,617) and Garnett (25,288) among active players.


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