W2W4: Mavs try to rebound, keep streak rolling vs. Bobcats

DALLAS -- The red flag waved all preseason, so it wasn’t a surprise that the Dallas Mavericks got dominated on the glass by the Utah Jazz.

It is a huge concern, however.

The boards are the Mavs’ primary focus entering their home opener against the Charlotte Bobcats. No team can afford to have a 21-rebound deficit, as the Mavs did in their loss to the Jazz, but especially not a team missing its lone All-Star.

“We’ve got to work on it,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We did rebounding drills in practice, which nobody in the NBA likes doing, because they’re physical and guys are flying all over the place and stuff like that. But we have no choice now. We have to get that in our collective mindset. It’s got to be a team responsibility.”

As bad as the Bobcats might be, they feature a big frontcourt with ex-Mav Brendan Haywood joined by fellow 7-footer Byron Mullens and rugged rookie small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Mullens grabbed 19 rebounds and Kidd-Gilchrist had 10 in a preseason loss to the Mavs.

Records: Mavs (1-1); Bobcats (1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: American Airlines Center


Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)

What to watch: Break up the Bobcats! Charlotte won its season opener, 90-89, over the Indiana Pacers sans Danny Granger, snapping a 23-game losing streak. A win over the Mavs would give the Bobcats consecutive victories for the first time since the final two games of the 2010-11 season. It’d also be the first time the Bobcats beat the Mavs, as Dallas is 15-0 against Charlotte. Second-year point guard Kemba Walker starred Friday night, scoring 30 points. Walker and sixth man Ben Gordon are the capable of carrying the Bobcats if they get hot.

Key matchup: Chris Kaman vs. Brendan Haywood -- The Mavs’ new big man will make his Dallas debut against the center the Mavs waived via the amnesty clause after acquiring Kaman. There’s no question that Kaman is a tremendous offensive upgrade over Haywood, but that might not be evident immediately. Kaman could need some time to get in sync with the Mavs’ offense after sitting out three weeks with a strained right calf. More than anything, the Mavs need their only active 7-footer to hold his own on the glass.

Injuries: Mavs -- PF Dirk Nowitzki (knee) is out. C Chris Kaman (calf) is expected to play. Bobcats -- None.

Up next: vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 7:30 p.m., Monday