Dirk Nowitzki will return to the States on Wednesday with his team’s 1-1 preseason record, some very special Euro Homecoming memories, and a swollen right knee that prevented him from participating on Tuesday’s 99-85 exhibition loss at FC Barcelona Regal. Our notes on the proceedings:
*Nowitzki played 34 minutes in the Mavs' 89-84 victory against Alba Berlin on Saturday. It was on Monday when he reported some swelling in the knee. He says he's better conditioned and stronger-legged than he was a year ago, so ... we'll try not to worry.
"Last year I dealt with (swelling in the knee),'' Nowitzki said. "We did treatment twice and the swelling didn't come back. Hopefully it will respond next week and I can play through the year. ... It's unfortunate, I would have loved to play. But the preseason is not the time to force a swollen knee.''
*His replacement in the starting lineup was Elton Brand. Brand and Marion at the forwards gave Dallas some good moments on defense (Dallas eventually cut into Barca’s 18-point second-half lead with a trapping defense … the bad news there being that the Mavs had trailed just Dallas trailed 42-40 at halftime before crumbling). But “rim protection’’ was not much a part of the Mavs’ defensive approach here.
*Chris Kaman, the starting center, might be destined to fall short in the aforementioned area. But he is a load on offense. He posted up, floored the ball, worked the pick-and-pop, put moves on his defender, shot baby hooks with either hand … He totaled 15 points (and nine rebounds) and note than on the injury front, his back is a non-issue,
*Dallas played without Roddy B (ankle), but rookie Jared Cunningham sufficed as a play-alike in a negative way. Jared was a bit out of control on the dribble as he attempted to get his game to catch up with his footspeed. Yes, he was part of the late comeback, but … control, young man. Control.
*O.J. Mayo showed himself to be a “streak shooter’’ – only with a bad streak. He was 0-of-7, and was a bit reminiscent of J-Ho at his worst in the sense that he was somewhat of a ball-stopper. … somehow too willing to shot-hunt and too hesitant, all at the same time.
*By my count, Elton Brand grabbed just three rebounds over the course of two games. Time change, probably.
*Collison finished with 14 points on 10 shots, an efficient scoring effort. He’s also very difficult to guard off the dribble, or at least is for defenders on the NBA fringe. Now he needs to button up those entry passes. The Pacers switched him out of the starting lineup last year and one of the reasons, as I understand it, is that replacement George Hill is skilled at dumping the ball inside, which became an Indy priority. That’s going to be part of a job description here, too. Button it up.
*Delonte’s work at the point was no more crisp. And while it appears DoJo also got some burn there, I view him as being so far down the totem pole at the position that I’m not sure I understand the point anymore.
*Mavsellaneous: Dahntay drew a technical foul. See, he really is like DeShawn! … Jae Crowder brought energy, if not polish. B-Wright did the same, though I’d like to think by now he was a more polished finisher around the rim … Props to Vince Carter, who seemed to be attempting to set a tone by hustling his old butt after loose balls and such. …
*The Barcelona game concludes the week-long Euro visit. The team is scheduled to begin its return on Wednesday and resume regular work in Dallas after that. Saturday is “MavstoberFest, a chance for fans to watch an afternoon practice at the AAC.
*There is much to still be accomplished here, but if the Euro trip was designed in part to create bonding among new teammates, hopefully that goal was reached.
"We’ve had a lot of meals together, and guys have done a lot of things together by choice,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “And that’s a very positive thing.’’