There were some bright spots for the Dallas Mavericks as they opened preseason play Saturday night in Berlin, Germany, with an 89-84 victory over Alba Berlin.
*Center Chris Kaman shook off a slow start before pouring in 14 points, grabbing six rebounds and blocking two shots in 23 minutes.
*Darren Collison looked promising after quarterbacking the offense with 14 points, nine assists and two steals in 35 minutes.
*Shawn Marion was back to his double-double self as he contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds – to go with three steals – in 34 minutes.
*Vince Carter came off the bench and played 21 minutes, finishing with 14 points and six boards.
The game, though, was mostly played at Alba’s tempo. Their aggressive style even forced the Mavs into committing 26 turnovers.
“Even though we won the game they made the game a lot more the way they wanted to play it than we did,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “So I give their players and coaches credit for that.
“This is an extremely well-coached team. Their guys played extremely hard and they’re very tough-minded.’’
The Mavs hope to protect the ball better Tuesday at 2 p.m. CDT when they play FC Barcelona Regal in Barcelona, Spain in their final last of this two-game European trip.
Kaman spent the better portion of this past week limited in practice after he sprained his lower back eight days ago in the Mavs’ first practice session. But following a slow start Saturday, he acquitted himself well after halftime.
“Kaman got off to a slow start in the game, struggled with some turnovers,’’ Carlisle said. “We got him out, and then when he went back in he worked his way back into the game.
“In the second half he was really dominant at the offensive end.’’
Collison, meanwhile, directed the offense to near perfection, although he did commit three turnovers. And Carter came off the bench and filled the role admirably that Jason Terry used to fill before he signed a free agent contract with the Boston Celtics this past summer.
Carlisle said: “As far as how we’re going to replace Jason Terry, we’re going to have to do it by
Dirk Nowitzki returned to play in his home country, but was held to just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting in 34 minutes. Meanwhile, the injury-proned Rodrigue Beaubois was helped off the court after spraining his left ankle.
Carlisle said he didn’t know the severity of Beaubois’ injury. But the Mavs’ coach knows his team must give a better all-around effort as the competition gets stiffer.
“When we had to make plays we did, when we had to get stops we were able to do it,’’ Carlisle said. “Again, the way Alba played had a lot to do with that.
“But we’ve got to do better. We are going to have to be a true team to be as successful as we want to be.’’
-- Dwain Price
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