LAS VEGAS -- With his impressive performance Wednesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center, Jackie Carmichael may have earned himself a spot on the Dallas Mavericks' training camp roster.
Carmichael poured in 23 points and collected nine rebounds to help the Mavs slip past the Los Angeles Clippers, 95-89, in the Las Vegas Summer League.
The No. 16-seeded Mavs are now 2-2 and will face the top-seeded Golden State Warriors on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. CDT.
A 6-9, 240-pound undrafted rookie from Illinois State, Carmichael is just the bruiser the Mavs needed in a game that was very physical. But he credits the efforts of Jae Crowder and Gal Mekel for getting him in position to be successful against the Clippers.
"I think everything from what Jae did to Mekel, I think it just opened up the floor a lot,'' Carmichael said. "They were huge offensive threats for us tonight, so I just took advantage of what the other team was giving me.''
Mavs summer league coach Monte Mathis was overly pleased with the contributions he got from Carmichael.
"He's an effort guy,'' Mathis said. "When we get the effort, we get the aggressiveness, he made some shots tonight -- which was nice to see our bigs make a few shots.
"He made some big rebounds, but he just gave us a lot of activity out there and a lot of effort.''
Besides Carmichael, the Mavs got 24 points from Josh Akognon and 18 points and five assists from Crowder. Akognon even came off the bench to provide a much-needed spark after starting the first three games of the summer league at shooting guard.
"I talked to him beforehand and I said, 'Hey, we want to have a little bit of juice coming off the bench,' '' Mathis said. "We started Terrico (White). . .they started two big guys at the two and three spots, so we had Josh coming in off the bench to get his shooting up and give that second unit a little bit of spark with Justin Dentmon at the point.''
The Mavs trailed 23-16 after the first period, but fought back to take a 44-42 lead at the half behind 15 points from Akognon. Dallas extended its lead to 65-62 going into the fourth period, which the Mavs showed their mettle by holding off the Clippers down the stretch.
"It was a team effort, it really was,'' Mathis said. "I know it's a cliche, but it was a team effort.
"I told them before the game we've had all-out efforts every single day since we started our practices back in Dallas. We've had the effort, we've had the aggressiveness, but we haven't played smart, and tonight we played smarter.''
How much smarter?
"Not much smarter, but a little smarter,'' Mathis said. "And we made some plays and some smart things at the end to win the game.''
D.J. Stephens had nine points and five rebounds for the Mavs, who only lost the rebounding battle by a 40-34 margin.
Mekel finished with just nine points (3-of-10 shooting) and four assists. But he handled the ball well against the Clippers' pressure defense.
"We talked about execution in the locker room,'' Mekel said. "Coach said we're playing hard all the games and it's about execution.
"I'm really happy in the fourth quarter that coach trusted me and Jae, and we ran basically the same play all the time and it got us going and good things came. I love to play with him, he's a great guy, I love guys that leave it all on the court, and he's the perfect example for this.''
As far as Carmichael is concerned, he isn't sure if his play Wednesday could help him land a spot on the Mavs' training camp roster.
"It is early, but I would like to think (his chances are) pretty good,'' said Carmichael, who was 9-of-14 from the field. "I'm a hard-working, tough, defensive-minded player and I feel like I'd fit in great with the organization and I would love to be a Dallas Maverick this coming season
"It's a great opportunity and I'm just trying to take full advantage of it.''
With the solid win over the Clippers in their rearview mirror, the Mavs now turn their attention to the Warriors, who have won 10 straight summer league games.
"It's going to be a good game,'' Carmichael said. "We obviously are going to have to step up and play really good defense -- they're a very good offensive team -- and I think just play team basketball and be able to bite down and really keep the game in our grasp down the stretch.''
Mathis, for one, is looking for the strong challenge the Warriors will present.
"We're just going to go after them,'' he said. "If we play smart like we did tonight, things will fall in line.
"We'll have the effort, we'll have the aggressiveness -- the aggressiveness without fouling as much as we have in the past. And we'll be right there with them.''
In closing, Mathis added: "Shock the world. Shock the summer league.''
-- Dwain Price
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