Reporting Mike Fisher
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DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) - The Dallas Mavericks believe they have the makings of a premier “two-man game’’ with newcomer Monta Ellis joining Dirk Nowitzki. But they need a “third man’’ to run the show – and at Tuesday’s practice they got one of their first long looks at the man for the job.
“I did everything with the team and I feel good,” said point guard Jose Calderon, who has essentially missed the entirety of training camp with a left hamstring problem. “It was a little bit slow early, but no limitations at all.”
Well, not so fast. Coach Rick Carlisle said Calderon “went through about half of the things we did,’’ and noted that while the veteran newcomer is on the upcoming preseason road trip, he will not play in Wednesday’s game at Indiana.
“We’ve just got to introduce him back into some real practice,’’ Carlisle said. “We’ll hold him out (Wednesday) and just do some precautionary work in shootaround before the game. And then as we go along here we’ll get him more and more into it. … He should do fine.’’
Calderon, 32, plans to make his preseason debut in a Mavs uniform on Saturday when Dallas is at Charlotte (in Greensboro, N.C.)
Dallas had problems last season with competent play at point guard, and in this preseason, rookie Gal Mekel has been central to some Dallas turnover issues. Calderon can solve that – and figures to mesh with Nowitzki and Ellis as well, even as they excelled offensively in Monday’s loss to Orlando. In the second quarter of the 102-94 loss, the pair combined for 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. For the game, Nowitzki finished with 24 points in 25 minutes on 9-of-14 shooting. And Ellis, signed to team with Calderon in the backcourt, scored 16 points in 27 minutes on 5-of-11 shooting.
Nowitzki said the two-man game featuring him and Ellis will be Dallas’ “bread and butter.’’ Calderon, it seems, is ready to serve as the knife.
“We’re trying to make plays for our teammates,’’ Calderon said, “so I’ll be there just helping on that and just trying to get everybody in the right spots.’’
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