James shows offensive game in SL opener

LAS VEGAS -- The Dallas Mavericks lost to the New York Knicks in the team's opener of the Las Vegas Summer League. The Mavs got to within six points in the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 13 in the third quarter.

How it happened: Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and second-round rookie forward Cleananthony Early combined to score 38 points en route to their victory.

Playing without an NBA contract, Mavs center Bernard James showed more of a polished offensive game as he scored 15 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and had four blocks in 28 minutes. Defense did prove to be an issue for him as Knicks forward Cole Aldridge and other big men showed that they could outmuscle him in the paint.

Many observers were eager to see Shane Larkin play once again, now in a Knicks uniform. Larkin went up against Mavs point guard Gal Mekel through most of the game. While it is just summer league play, the former teammates played to a duel as neither consistently played better than the other. Larkin's afternoon could have gone better as he was on the bad end of a thunderous dunk. Mavs backup forward Eric Griffin drove down the lane and threw down a ferocious dunk over Larkin. Griffin had another emphatic dunk in the fourth quarter, representing his only made field goals of the game.

Mekel finished the game with 10 points, four assists on 37.5 percent shooting. Larkin finished with 10 points, five assists on 50.0 percent shooting.

Mavs forward Ricky Ledo had an up and down game. Ledo, 21, showed a nice ability to attack toward the rim off the pick-and-roll, but often struggled with finishing in the paint. His jumper lacked consistency as well, as he finished just 4-of-14 from the field.

What it means: Dallas will have two more games before they move into the tournament portion of the league. Each team will play three games (July 11-15) in the preliminary round and will be seeded 1-24 for a single elimination tournament (July 16-17, July 19-21) on the basis of the results of the preliminary round. The Mavs will be back in action Saturday afternoon against the Minnesota Timberwolves at 5:30 p.m. CST.

Mavs player of the game: "Sarge" James was the standout of the game for the Mavs. James played like he did when he was sent down to Dallas' D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends, last season for one game. It's only one game, but James played like a player who has been in the NBA and is fighting for a contract. Time will tell if he actually gets one.

Stat of the day: Turnovers still matter, summer league or not. Dallas struggled to possess the ball as they had 18 turnovers in the loss to the Knicks. On the other end, New York only had 13 turnovers in their victory.