Mavs seek strong finish to summer league

LAS VEGAS -- With the game against the Golden State Warriors slipping out of their hands, the Dallas Mavericks have to try to move forward and end their run in the Las Vegas Summer League on a high note. They'll try to do that, but there is still a sense of sour grapes knowing they let a winnable game get away from them.

“It doesn’t feel good,” Mavs summer league coach Monte Mathis said about the loss to the Warriors. “We know it was our game to have.”

Now, the Mavs will go up against the second-seeded Chicago Bulls in the consolation bracket of the tournament on Friday night.

It’s weird to think that the Mavs were expecting to rely heavily on second-year players Bernard James and Jae Crowder throughout the duration of the summer league and it appears that they will have neither of them available in the team’s finale.

While James missed his fourth consecutive game and was back in Dallas, the Mavs got somewhat of a scare late in the first quarter of their loss to the Warriors as Crowder sprained his left ankle. While the severity of the injury is still unknown, Mathis didn’t sound overly concerned about the injury.

“I don’t think it’s bad,” Mathis said after the loss. “But it wasn’t worth him trying to continue to play.”

The injury to Crowder was another example of how it’s been a roller coaster-like run for the Mavs in the summer league. They now know they have a few interesting prospects -- mainly Gal Mekel, Ricky Ledo and Jackie Carmichael -- to look at as they prepare for training camp in a few months. Those prospects helped them get very close to beating the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, but they had too many little issues pop up that ultimately derailed their run.

Dallas will now go out and play the best it can in what will be its final game of the tournament.

“I want to finish good and on a high note,” said Justin Dentmon, who led Dallas with 19 points off the bench in Thursday's loss. “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, and we want to come out and just finish well.”