After sitting out the Dallas Mavericks first two preseason games due to a hip contusion, Dirk Nowitzki made his preseason debut Sunday, October 12, to help lead the Mavs to a win over the Indiana Pacers.
Dirk Nowitzki finished with 16 points and looked in All-Star form as the Mavs picked up the victory 106-98 over the Pacers for their first preseason win.
“When you have a guy of that caliber, it’s going to be a little easier for everybody. He draws so much attention and defenses play him differently than they play other guys, so it was a lot more spacing with him out there on the court.” starting point guard Jameer Nelson.
Nelson is looking more and more like the starting point guard the Mavs had hoped for as he dished out 10 assists in the win.
“It was great. He looked great. You know, his shot looked good and he looked like he was moving pretty good. It was just one game, but it makes things easier. A lot of defenses hug up on him, because he’s such a good shooter. So, it should be fun." said new addition Chandler Parsons.
Nowitzki was done after the first half and watched the reserves take the game into the fourth quarter with the score tied at 74 all.
Charlie Villanueva helped the Mavs close the game out in the fourth quarter with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 4-of-6 three-point range. Villanueva has been consistent in providing perimeter shooting for the Mavs and is looking more and more he may make the final roster cut of 15.
“A lot of guys played well, especially that group in the fourth,” Carlisle concluded. “Mekel has gotten so much better in the last year and he’s worked so hard at it. It’s great to see him have a night like tonight, where he really took control of the game. He made plays, he scored, he found people, he made costless throws and he was terrific on defense. He’s an NBA player and he plays extremely well. Charlie was terrific, but we have other guys who did a lot of things, too. I thought [Al-Farouq] Aminu was a factor on the boards, Smith played solid and Ledo’s learning.”
While Nowitzki made his preseason debut, Monta Ellis missed Sunday's contest as he rested a sprain MCL. Richard Jefferson filled in for Ellis in the starting lineup and finished with 13 points. Mekel and Parsons added 11 points apiece, and Ricky Ledo made it six Mavericks in double figures with 10 points off the bench.
C.J. Miles led the Pacers with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, helping Indiana’s 48.6 percent from the field better Dallas’ 45.6 percent at the other end of the floor. Dallas, meanwhile, finished with a 48-36 rebounding advantage while commtting just 13 turnovers to Indiana’s 19 giveaways.
Head coach Frank Vogel elected to give George Hill, Roy Hibbert, and Rodney Stuckey the night off. Each player started both of Indiana's two previous preseason contests. Fellow starter David West did not play after halftime.
The Mavericks will now prepare to hit the road and face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday, October 17 at 6:30 PM CST. The Pacers will also be making a trip to Cleveland for their matchup with "King James" Wednesday, October 15, night.