HOUSTON -- For the first time this preseason, the Dallas Mavericks will have their projected starting lineup on the court at the same time.
The Mavs (3-2) meet the Houston Rockets (3-1) tonight at 7 at the Toyota Center. And for the first time collectively, Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion will start at the forward spots, Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis will be in the backcourt, and Samuel Dalembert will be hold down things in the middle.
It's the lineup the Mavs envisioned when they dabbled into free agency over the summer to nab Calderon, Ellis and Dalembert.
However, Calderon missed the preseason's first four games with a strained left hamstring and has only played in this past Saturday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats. But, Nowitzki didn't play against the Bobcats because he received his scheduled day off from coach Rick Carlisle.
Now, the gang is finally together and hopes -- with three games remaining until the regular season starts -- to show Mavs Nation some semblance of what to expect this year.
"We've got to put our guys together as much as we can these last three games,'' Carlisle said after today's shoot around. "Tonight is 33 percent of the remainder of the exhibition season, so this is important.''
Marion said everything has been moving so fast during training camp that he was totally unaware that the Mavs' projected starting lineup has yet to play a game together.
"I hadn't even thought about it like that,'' Marion said. "When you've been playing for so long you just go out and play and compete.
"You don't even think about who's playing and who's not playing, you think about when you step on the floor and lace them up it's time to go. At the same time it's going to be a good thing.''
-- Dwain Price
Follow me on Twitter