Mavericks-Clippers Preview

Despite an early stumble, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle

said there’s no need to panic. Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del

Negro might find reason to if his team doesn’t start playing better

coming out of halftime.

Looking to rebound from their first loss, the Mavericks play

their road opener Sunday against a Clippers team still trying for

its first victory under Del Negro.

After defeating Charlotte 101-86 on Wednesday, Dallas (1-1)

committed nine of its 20 turnovers in the fourth quarter of

Friday’s 91-90 loss to Memphis. The Mavericks, who are shooting

51.0 percent from the field, also missed 12 of 18 shots in the

final 12 minutes.

“Bad execution down the stretch,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who is

averaging 27.5 points and 10.0 rebounds while shooting 78.6 percent

(22 of 28) from the floor. “We had enough chances. We had the ball

with six seconds left, that’s plenty of time. But we didn’t even

get a look. It’s a bad loss, a game we’ve got to win.”

Carlisle, who led the Mavericks to an NBA-best 27-14 road record

in 2009-10, knows his team has to take better care of the ball, but

he’s not overly concerned at this point as his team looks to win

its seventh straight over Los Angeles.

“Look, this is two games out of 82, so come back in two weeks

and we’ll see where we are,” he said.

Del Negro is not pleased about where his team stands. The

Clippers (0-2) trailed by four at halftime Friday but were

outscored 21-2 to open the second half of a 109-91 loss at Golden

State.

In Wednesday’s 98-88 home loss to Portland, Los Angeles made one

basket in opening 3:49 of the third quarter. The Clippers are

shooting a combined 2 for 12 in the first three minutes of the

second half, while their opponents are 6 for 11 during that

stretch.

“We have a lot of growing pains, a lot of things to work on,”

said Del Negro, whose starters are shooting 38.8 percent from the

floor and have missed 19 of 22 3-point attempts. “We have to have

more of a defensive sense of urgency, especially in the third

quarter.”

Dallas may make things even tougher, having made 53.8 percent of

its shots while averaging 28.0 points during the third period.

“We’ve got to bounce back,” Clippers rookie forward Blake

Griffin said Friday after posting his second straight double-double

with 14 points and 10 boards.

Griffin and center Chris Kaman, who averaged 22.0 points and 9.0

rebounds in three losses to Dallas last season, could have a tough

matchup with the inside-outside threat of Nowitzki and newcomer

Tyson Chandler.

Acquired from Charlotte in the offseason, Chandler is averaging

5.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while starting in front of

Brendan Haywood. Chandler, a native of Compton, Calif., hasn’t

played at Staples Center since Jan. 6, 2009, against the Lakers,

due to injuries.

Mavericks 37-year-old point guard Jason Kidd has 28 assists –

his most through two games since he had 29 for Phoenix in

1997-98.

The Clippers, trying to avoid their third straight 0-3 start,

have lost their last three at home to Dallas by an average of 18.0

points.

The Mavericks have won 12 of 13 overall in this matchup.