Besides the expected soreness, Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams were in good spirits the day after playing in their first game for the Dallas Mavericks.
Both Williams (strained right calf) and Matthews (left Achilles tendon surgery) played in their first preseason game Friday night against the Chicago Bulls in Lincoln, Neb., since signing free agent contracts with the Mavs over the summer.
All parties, the Mavs and their fans included, had been anticipating the moment so they could gauge exactly how their new backcourt would react under game conditions.
“I didn’t play too many minutes, so obviously I feel pretty well,” Williams said after Saturday’s practice at American Airlines Center. “The legs feel good ... just a little tired.
“I kind of got the training camp legs now, because I’m just now starting to go at it.”
Williams and Matthews each played 15:32 against the Bulls. The Mavs’ point guard, Williams was aware of the importance of his presence on the court because he’ll be the one running the offense this season.
“I’ve only had 2 1/2 practices now in the last month-and-a-half,” said Williams, who signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Mavs in the off-season. “So that game, those 15 minutes, were really important.
“Just to get in there and get some confidence, to get to feel what the offense is like in a real game-like setting as opposed to practice.”
Matthews, likewise, came away from Friday’s game unscathed and delighted he was able to beat his own timetable for when he would make his initial appearance in a Mavs uniform after signing a four-year, $70 million contract over the summer.
“I feel like it was the first time I played in a game, but I feel good,” Matthews said. “I played live today [in practice] and the whole body is sore, but that was to be expected.
“I just tried to keep an even head, calm my nerves, calm my mind and just play basketball [Friday night]. It was good to get up and down the court and take some hits and play against live action and unpredictable stuff.”
Williams had six points and four assists against the Bulls and was 1-of-4 from the field. Matthews collected seven points, two assists and two steals and was 3-of-6 from the floor.
“I like that they were out there, No. 1,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “No. 2, they’re all guys that know how to play the game, so I think they’ll pick up the vibe from each other in time.
“Never had a player quite like Wes. You know, he’s really solid in all areas.”
On a day when the Mavs reduced their roster to 16 by waiving center Samuel Dalembert, guard Tu Holloway, and forwards Jamil Wilson and Brandon Ashley on Saturday, forward Chandler Parsons said the odds are not in his favor to join Matthews and Williams in Wednesday’s regular-season opener in Phoenix.
“I think it’s too soon,” Parsons said. “I’ve only had like three or four practices under my belt and I don’t think the trainers and the doctors are going to put me out there.
“That was always my hope was to be back opening night. I’ll keep doing whatever they say — I’ve got to listen to them — but I don’t see Wednesday happening.”
Wednesday will definitely happen for Matthews and Williams. But Matthews doesn’t want anyone walking away thinking Friday was some sort of perfect outing.
“If everything went according to plan I would have made every shot I took, but I ran the offense,” Matthews said. “We can scrimmage all we want.
“We know what we’re running. But being in unpredictable situations and to make plays that I have to just react to, and to be able to do it, it feels really good.”
Mavericks at Suns
9 p.m. Wednesday, FSSW