National Basketball Association
Preview
Atlanta at Dallas
When: 8:30 PM ET, Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

The Dallas Mavericks open the NBA season Wednesday at home against the Atlanta Hawks looking for their young talent to fuel improvement over last season’s 33-49 record, but one steady constant remains in the middle. Center Dirk Nowitzki, sixth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, returns for his 20th season and the 39-year-old shows no signs of slowing down after averaging 14.2 points and 6.5 rebounds a season ago, then signing a two-year contract in the offseason.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle believes last season’s 2-13 start and a variety of injuries may pay off since several younger players saw expanded playing time, telling reporters, “We’re younger, and younger guys have more confidence because they got to play last year.” The Hawks look to be entering a rebuilding phase after several key players left in free agency, putting their streak of 10 consecutive playoff appearances in jeopardy. “Our goal for the season is to see growth in all our guys,” new general manager Travis Schlenk told reporters. “Historically, teams that are young take it on the chin a little bit.” Point guard Dennis Schroder highlights the returning starters, after averaging 17.9 points and 6.3 assists a season ago.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), FSN Southwest (Dallas)

ABOUT THE HAWKS (2016-17: 43-39): Schroder will be the focal point of an offense that lost three of its top four scorers from last season. Guard Kent Bazemore battled through an up-and-down season in averaging 11 points per game on 40.9 percent shooting from the field, and first-round draft pick John Collins and second-year player Taurean Prince showed flashes of potential in preseason. Atlanta also faces a difficult start to the season, beginning the campaign with a five-game road trip.

ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (2016-17: 33-49): Rookie point guard Dennis Smith figures to bolster an offense that finished last in the NBA in scoring in 2016-17 (97.9 points per game). Forward Harrison Barnes scored 19.2 points per game last season and will help anchor a young core that includes guard Yogi Ferrell and center Nerlens Noel. It is likely Nowitzki, who missed 20 games a season with an Achilles injury, will have his minutes limited at times.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Collins, a first-team selection in the NBA Summer League, averaged 7.6 points and seven rebounds in preseason.

2. Barnes averaged 16 points in preseason as the Mavericks finished 5-2.

3. Seven players on Atlanta’s 15-man roster have one year or fewer NBA experience.

PREDICTION: Mavericks 112, Hawks 97
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Atlanta 0-0 L1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Dallas 0-0 L1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Atlanta Dallas
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/1/17 DAL 95 ATL 100 100 34 56.2 95 33 45.5
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Atlanta E. Ilyasova 18 85.7 2
Dallas H. Barnes 25 47.4 4
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Atlanta D. Howard 12 2 10
Dallas D. Nowitzki 10 2 8
Assists Player  
Atlanta P. Millsap 10
Dallas Y. Ferrell 9
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Atlanta N/A
Dallas N/A
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Atlanta N/A
Dallas N/A
Assists Player  
Atlanta N/A
Dallas N/A
Quickchart Matchup
Atlanta Atlanta Off vs  Dallas Dallas Defense
Atlanta Off vs Dallas - Points For 0.0 Points For
Atlanta Off vs Dallas - Points Against 0.0 Points Against
Atlanta - FG% 0.0 FG%
Dallas - FG% 0.0 FG%
Atlanta - Reb 0.0 Reb
Dallas - Reb 0.0 Reb
Dallas Dallas Off vs  Atlanta Atlanta Defense
Dallas Off vs Atlanta - Points For 0.0 Points For
Dallas Off vs Atlanta - Points Against 0.0 Points Against
Dallas - FG% 0.0 FG%
Atlanta - FG% 0.0 FG%
Dallas - Reb 0.0 Reb
Atlanta - Reb 0.0 Reb