The Dallas Mavericks (2-3) would rest their top-six rotation players as they were on the second end of a back-to-back. The “B Team” put up a great fight, but the Indiana Pacers (2-3) would rally late and come out with the 98-93 win.
With Paul George out for the season, his replacement will be asked to fill big shoes and he did. Chris Copeland had a game high 22 points and hit a game high six threes on 14 attempts. Behind Copeland, the Pacers would use a strong fourth quarter to sneak out with the win; they outscored the Mavs 37-19 in the final frame. David West, before leaving with an ankle injury, had 16 points . Third string guard Donald Sloan added 15 points.
With Jameer Nelson, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki,Tyson Chandler, and Devin Harris sitting out, the Mavs would roll out the starting lineup of Gal Mekel, Richard Jefferson, Jae Crowder, Ivan Johnson, and Greg Smith.
Mekel and Jefferson led the Mavs with 19 points a piece. Crowder would chip in with nine, Smith contributed five points, and Johnson went scoreless in his six minutes.
Mekel’s Roster Case
After his name popped up in trade rumors, Mekel had another opportunity to save his roster spot. After coming up with a big three and key assists late in the Cavs win, Mekel would again impress.
Along with his team-high 19 points, he would dish out a game-high nine assists. He would commit five turnovers, but the strong play of Israeli guard couldn’t have come at a better time.
Johnson was given the starting nod to make a case for himself. And…he didn’t do that. He’d go 0-3 and commit 5 fouls in his six minutes.
Bernard James, also mentioned in trade rumors, finally got significant court time. He’d total 15 minutes, but like Johnson, he didn’t impress. He would tally six rebounds but was 1-5 from the floor and part of the 4th quarter collapse.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting excited about what Aminu will bring to the Mavs. He would tally his second double-digit rebounding game this preseason and tally his first double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds).
His length, energy, and athleticism have been on full display this preseason. If he can continue his strong play, he and Brandan Wright could supply the Mavs with plenty of athleticism and length at the backup big positions.
The Mavs will head back home. They’ll face former Mav Vince Carter and the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night at 7:30 PM CT.