It’s an early Texas tiff in the NBA when rivals Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets face each other in a preseason game on Monday night.
The Mavericks are slowly bringing in their starters in previous preseason games. Offseason acquisitions Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon have the starting back court spots locked down, while veterans Samuel Dalembert and Shawn Marion will be manning the paint.
All four started and played key minutes in an 89-to-83 win versus the Charlotte Bobcats. Marion and Calderon-- along with another veteran in Vince Carter-- top-scored for the Mavericks with 13 points apiece. Sure starter and superstar power forward Dirk Nowitzki missed the game.
For the Rockets, meanwhile, some starting jobs—except for Dwight Howard at center, Chandler Parsons at small forward and James Harden at shooting guard—are still up for grabs.
Parsons missed their last game, a close 108-to-104 victory over the Orlando Magic but Harden (21 points and 4 assists) and Howard (8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocked shots) played their usual preseason minutes.
Through five games into the preseason, a slew of players are battling for the point guard and power forward spots for the Rockets.
Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley have both gotten considerable minutes at the point although the latter is the preferred started by head coach Kevin McHale in this offseason. Beverley finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds in the Magic game and Lin missed the game.
Another unknown for the Rockets is who starts at the 4-spot. Donatas Motiejunas is making a good impression in the preseason and had 14 points and 6 rebounds in 24 minutes versus Orlando. The 23-year-old Lithuanian also scored in double digits in three out of four previous preseason outings.