While the Dallas Mavericks began their season with a narrow defeat to the reigning NBA champs, they should have an easier time in Thursday night’s home opener.
Dallas goes for a 20th win in 22 home matchups against the Utah Jazz, who are hoping to quickly regroup after dropping their first game.
Monta Ellis had 26 points and Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 but Dallas (0-1) came up just short in Tuesday’s 101-100 loss at San Antonio. Chandler Parsons missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer from 28 feet out with one second to go.
"It was a great basketball game, you can’t kick off the season with a better game than this for the fans – there’s no way," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Unfortunately, the slim margins of winning and losing are all that anybody remembers. If we get one more stop one more basket than we’re all him here singing a different tune. That’s the world we live in the Western Conference."
Devin Harris added 17 points off the bench but Parsons finished with five while shooting 2 of 10 in his Mavericks debut.
"Just one of those games, man. You know, it’s (bad) to play like that the first game, but it’s one of 82 games," Parsons told the team’s official website. "It’s going to take some time getting used to playing with everybody. It’s just one of those nights where I couldn’t get anything to fall, and I’ve got to be better."
Dallas will likely need to come out with a stronger defensive showing after allowing the Spurs to shoot 52.9 percent, including 14 of 28 from 3-point range.
"We can learn from it and get better," Ellis said. "Go to practice and get ready for the next one."
The Mavericks have to like their chances of bouncing back given Thursday’s opponent. Dallas has taken 12 of 15 from Utah, including five in a row while shooting 52.0 percent. The Mavericks have also won seven straight meetings at home, where they’ve gone 19-2 in the series dating to March 2003.
Utah (0-1) is looking to move on following Wednesday’s 104-93 loss to Houston. The Jazz held a 62-44 edge in the paint but had no answer for the Rockets defensively, allowing them to shoot 51.9 percent.
Houston went 14 of 27 from long distance while Utah was 3 for 18. Coach Quin Snyder’s team shot 60.0 percent in the first half but still trailed 58-50 at the break.
"We didn’t play our best basketball," Gordon Hayward said. "Hopefully we can pick it up. The good news is we play (Thursday) so we have a quick turnaround."
Alec Burks had a team-high 18 points while Derrick Favors finished with 16, seven rebounds four blocks and three steals. Hayward, last season’s leading scorer with 16.2 points per game, managed eight while going 3 of 11 from the floor.
"We’ve got 81 games left, so it’s just about moving on from this and looking at what we can do to improve," said backup guard Dante Exum, the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft.
Hayward was held to an average of 10.0 points in four games against Dallas in 2013-14.
Mavericks forward Richard Jefferson, who spent last season with Utah, faces his former team for the first time.
Dallas just brought back a familiar face in J.J. Barea, who signed Wednesday following his release from Minnesota. Barea spent the first five years of his career with the Mavericks, helping lead them to the title in 2010-11.