With so many of his players injured and so many newcomers, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle isn’t looking for any miracles when his team opens preseason play at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at American Airlines Center against the Denver Nuggets.
But he will be looking for some sense of cohesiveness.
“We just want to play our style,” Carlisle said following Monday’s practice. “We want to be real vigilant about our transition defense, we have to have pace on offense, and so far we’re keeping things real simple.
“We have simple offensive philosophies and concepts with counters that are simple reads, so we want our guys going hard and sharing the ball and creating the best possible shots on offense. And on defense we want to get back, and we’re going to swarm. That’s how we’re going to have to play.”
Carlisle liked some of what he saw in Sunday’s Blue-White scrimmage. But with his entire starting lineup of Chandler Parsons (knee), Dirk Nowitzki (rest), Deron Williams (calf), Wesley Matthews (Achilles tendon) and JaVale McGee (leg) unable to play, it was difficult for anyone to get a good gauge on the new-look Mavericks.
“I thought the offensive flow was good,” Carlisle said. “Let’s be honest, we’re missing about $60 million worth of players out there.
“The guys that played did a good job, but the name of the game for us is getting our health where it needs to be. Again, we’re moving in that direction.”
Parsons underwent a “minor hybrid” microfracture operation to correct cartilage damage in his right knee in May and likely won’t play in any of the Mavericks’ seven preseason games. He just wants to be ready when the regular season opens Oct. 28 in Phoenix.
“If I don’t [play in any preseason games], it’s not the end of the world,” Parsons said. “I’ve played four seasons now — I know what it’s going to be like.
“But I haven’t missed this much time, so it’ll be nice to get in there and play. But if I’m not able to play in any, or they don’t want me to play in any, I don’t look at it as a problem. But I’d like to get in one, at least, and shake the rust off.”
Carlisle has no qualms with his team opening preseason play with a back-to-back slate.
In addition to hosting Denver on Tuesday night, the Mavericks play in Houston on Wednesday night.
“Why not?’’ Carlisle asked. “It’s supposed to be tough. It’s the NBA. It’s not supposed to be easy.”
The Mavericks have only 13 healthy players out of 20 that they have in training camp.
“Two games in a row, we’ll most likely have an off day after the two games, and then we come back and we’ll have three or four practice days in a row before we play again,” Carlisle said. “So I like the way it’s setting up.”
The Mavericks won’t play another preseason game until Oct. 13 in Tulsa against Oklahoma City.
Nuggets at Mavericks
7:30 p.m. Tuesday