The Mavericks had a first on Wednesday night as they steamrolled into the season with a familiar result.
Their 101-86 win over the Charlotte Bobcats was the Mavs first opening-game win under head coach Rick Carlisle after they had lost the previous two openers both at home. Jason Kidd had a career-high 18 assists and the Mavericks stayed perfect against the Bobcats at 13-0.
The first quarter was winding down as Dallas was carrying a 23-6 lead. Dirk Nowitzki, Caron Butler and Jason Terry led the initial charge that was disrupted by a Boris Diaw 3-pointer. Charlotte closed the first quarter with a run that held the score at 21-25
Carlisle started the second quarter with bench players J.J. Barea and rookie Dominique Jones in the game. The duo both scored but lost the lead and the starters were put back into the game. Dallas did not look back and secured a very easy win.
Stephen Jackson sat out the entire final quarter with what some are speculating to be a bad ankle. The Bobcats were losing by double digits by that point and there was no use in putting him back in.
Tyson Chandler looked very natural in the offense and even had some impressive post plays with Kidd. His ability to actually move under the basket will be an emphasis to this offense with the Maverick’s ability to move the ball close with slashes or aggressive passing. Brendan Haywood was held to only 20 minutes in the game and Carlisle needs to make sure he is okay with such limited play off of the bench. However, the season is long and we may see some rotation starts between he and Chandler.
The Bobcats did not look they belonged in the playoffs last season. Gerald Wallace was very frustrated the entire game and even got into a scuffle with Chandler towards the end of the fourth quarter. He and Diaw finished by shooting 10-26 from the floor.
Tyrus Thomas is really fitting in well with this team. He came off the bench very aggressively and is really turning his game around in Charlotte after a dismal few years in Chicago. We could see him move into a starting position as Larry Brown is forced to start smaller lineups.
D.J. Augustin made it very apparent that he wanted to run this team’s offense at point guard. After Raymond Felton moved to the Knicks, the team was forced to start him over injury-prone Shaun Livingston and rookie Sherron Collins. He looked lost for most of the evening and if not lost, then overly confidant. He rushed into a lot of situations but also held back a lot and really wasn’t the play-maker that Jackson was on the court. However, he finished with only one turnover and five assists.
It was an easy one for Dallas over a team that should really be a lot better. Carlisle knows that the Mavs could win this one and showed it with increased minutes from his bench. Let’s consider this one a warm up for some of the better teams in the league.