Dallas Mavericks

Mavs got a lot of work to do as second unit beats first unit

DALLAS – Superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki hobbled off the court early in the second half and did not return.

Center Greg Smith chipped a tooth late in the second half after he got banged in the mouth.

Those were just a few of the, uh, highlights Saturday when the Dallas Mavericks’ Blue squad – the team’s second unit – edged the White, 40-37, before 6,440 at American Airlines Center.

Coach Rick Carlisle said Nowitzki’s injury was nothing serious and that he will be fine. Smith, meanwhile, laughed off his unfortunate incident.

Elsewhere, when asked what he thought of a White team consisting of Tyson Chandler, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Jameer Nelson and Nowitzki losing the annual scrimmage, Carlisle said: "They got their (butt) kicked, didn’t they? A couple of lucky shots at the end made it look close, but they got beat pretty good.

"Hey, we’ve got a lot of work to do.’’

The White team had a chance to send the scrimmage into overtime. But a long 3-point try by Charlie Villanueva missed its mark at the buzzer. Overall, though, six practice sessions into the first week of training camp, Carlisle was pleased with what he saw from his team Saturday.

"I thought it was positive,’’ he said. "We’re doing some good things out there.

"We need more work, obviously. It’s only been five days.’’

In those five days, Villanueva has impressed Carlisle with his heady play. The 6-11, 232-pound nine-year veteran even drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with five seconds left which would have given the White team a two-point lead – but he inadvertently bounced the ball on the out of bounds line while attempting to steal a pass.

"He’s a weapon,’’ Carlisle said of Villanueva. "You saw the play he made at the end hitting that three in the corner.

"There aren’t many guys in this league that can do that. Only a handful, and he’s one of them.’’

Carlisle also was impressed by the effort he received from third-year veteran forward Jae Crowder, who seemed to be everywhere at once on the defensive end of the court.

"He’s been the best defensive player in camp so far,’’ Carlisle said. "He and Tyson (Chandler) are the two best guys.

"Those guys need to continue to set a tone because that’s going to be the key to how far we can go with this team. If we can develop that competitive divineness that you need defensively from start to finish, we’ll have a chance to be very good. And if we don’t, inconsistency will haunt us.’’

Second-year shooting guard Ricky Ledo is another player who fared well Saturday, including banging in a pair of 3-pointers in the second half. After spending the balance of his rookie season last year playing in the D-League in Frisco, Ledo hopes to earn some minutes in a very crowded and talent-laden backcourt.

"He’s doing better,’’ Carlisle said. "When he keeps it simple he’s a very effective player, and he’s doing a better job of that all the time.

"We really like what he’s doing. We just need him to continue to work on being solid on defense and making the simple play on offense.’’

Guard Raymond Felton buried a pair of free throws with 3.2 seconds left Saturday to help provide the Blue team with a three-point lead which forced the White team into attempting a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Meanwhile, Villanueva and whatever his upside is, appears to be intriguing to the Mavs.

"He’s just got a unique skill,’’ Carlisle said. "He’s gotten himself to a point now where he’s in good shape, he’s worked through his injury issues and right now he’s feeling good.

"It’s early in camp. But he’s done a good job and we’re just looking for everybody to play to their strengths, and he does that.’’