Dallas Mavericks

Mavs have tough challenge in opener

DALLAS – The most difficult season-opener in the NBA this season belongs to the Dallas Mavericks.

Not only will the Mavs open the season Tuesday on the road against their rivals from San Antonio. But they’ll do so against a Spurs squad that’ll receive their rings for winning last year’s championship.

And they’ll do so against a Spurs squad that’s heavily favored to win another title this season.

"It’s as tough a challenge as you’re going to get, but we understand that,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "We’re a relatively new group that understands we’ve got to earn the right to win.

"We’ve got to start by how we compete and how we play together.’’

The Mavs finished preseason play 4-4 after Friday’s 117-92 win in Orlando. But whatever the Mavs were able to accomplish in the eight preseason games wasn’t anything special, as far as Carlisle is concerned.

"I’m not satisfied with anything,’’ Carlisle said. "We’ve done some good things on both sides of the ball in preseason.

"But we’re entering a different world now, and its got to start with defensive rebounding and hard together play. And we’ve got to build it from there.’’