DALLAS -- A little over a week ago when the Dallas Mavericks went to Indiana for a preseason game, the Pacers basically played their second-tier players.
Coach Rick Carlisle doesn't think that will be the case tonight at 7:30 when the Mavs (4-3) host the Pacers (2-5) at American Airlines Center in the preseason finale for both teams.
"I expect them to play their best players,'' Carlisle said after Friday morning's shoot around. "At this point you kind of almost have to unless you have injuries -- and they said they're going to.''
Pacers center Roy Hibbert, power forward David West and small forward Paul George didn't play against Dallas in that Oct. 16 contest which the Mavs won, 92-85. Danny Granger also left that game for good after the first 7 minutes and 55 seconds with a calf injury that'll also keep him out of tonight's game.
But with Hibbert playing tonight that'll give the Mavs another chance to see the progress of center Samuel Dalembert, who also had a titanic matchup this past Monday in Houston against Dwight Howard. In addition, with West on the floor that allows the Mavs an opportunity to see Dirk Nowitzki go against one of the league's most aggressive power forwards.
Meanwhile, Shawn Marion will get a chance to apply his defensive pressure against George, who shined throughout the playoffs last season and is one of the NBA's young rising stars.
"This is going to be a good test,'' Carlisle said. "When we played them a week-and-a-half ago they had four of their starters out, and they still had a good team.
"Today, with all their big guys and all their strong guys and Paul George out there, this will be a great opportunity for us.''
-- Dwain Price
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