Mavs, Warriors both aiming to bounce back (Oct 23, 2017)

DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks, losers of their first three games and humiliated in Houston on Saturday night, didn’t get any favors from the league’s schedule-makers by welcoming the Golden State Warriors to town on the heels of their frustrating loss.

The defending champions stand to be in an ornery mood when they enter American Airlines Center for Monday night’s matchup. Golden State got throttled at Memphis on Saturday, a game that culminated with Stephen Curry getting ejected for throwing his mouthpiece in the direction of official Scott Wall in disgust over not getting a call.

Moments later, Kevin Durant got ejected for defending Curry in the eventual 111-101 loss to the Grizzlies. Curry, who scored 37 points but was in foul trouble throughout the Warriors’ surprising second defeat in three games, is now waiting for the league to determine if his mouthpiece toss will net a suspension.

The point guard said he shouldn’t have done it and knows it will get him fined. But he told reporters afterward that he doesn’t believe it warrants a one-game sit-down.

“I’ve thrown my mouthpiece plenty of times and thrown it on the floor,” Curry said. “It’s probably not the best thing to do, but I’ve done it. (I) own up to it. I don’t think it’s a suspension or anything. My pockets will be a lot lighter for sure, though.”

The league might also take a look at Durant’s behavior as he exited the floor upon his ejection. He egged-on heckling Grizzlies fans by pointing to his ring finger to remind them he’s an NBA champion. Some thought he had given the fans the middle finger, but not so.

Durant called it “nothing serious” and said it was all in good fun.

“I did the ring finger,” Durant told reporters. “I’m sure everybody thinks I’m the angry black athlete, so I got to put my middle finger up. But nah, I put the ring finger up.”

The Mavs are hopeful they’ll get some of their missing backcourt back in action. Rookie of the Year candidate Dennis Smith Jr., has already missed consecutive games because of a left knee effusion, which is swelling because of fluid around the joint.

The team has called the injury “not serious,” but it is clearly worrisome. Dallas also hopes to have Devin Harris back for Monday’s game. The veteran reserve guard is on a leave of absence after his older brother, 38-year-old Bruce Harris, died Thursday from injuries suffered in a car crash.

Stephen Curry’s brother, Seth Curry, has yet to play this season because of a left tibia stress reaction, and he will also miss Monday’s game.

Dallas’ biggest problem has been an inability to rebound, providing plenty of second-chance opportunities for its opponents. The Mavs have been out-rebounded by 43 through the first three games.

“A lot of them weren’t really rebounds,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told the Dallas Morning News. “They were loose balls that were deflected and we just didn’t get to.”

If Dallas can’t get past Golden State, a first win could remain elusive for some time. The Mavs face a home-and-away back-to-back against Memphis, followed by games against Philadelphia, Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers.

“I think we got the hardest schedule in the NBA the first 30 games,” said 39-year-old Dirk Nowitzki, who has had a rough start to the season, averaging 7.3 points on 29 percent shooting from the floor. “Hopefully, we’ll get some bodies back and win enough games to stick around for the first 30 games. But it’s not going to get any easier.”