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September 24, 2017

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Mavericks hold on in Germany for 89-84 win over Alba Berlin

BERLIN -- Dirk Nowitzki failed to shine on his return Saturday to his native Germany but the Dallas Mavericks did just enough to start the preseason with an 89-84 win against Alba Berlin.

Nowitzki scored eight points in his first game in Germany as a Maverick, and the visitors had to rely on 14 points each from Chris Kaman, Darren Collison and Vince Carter to overcome a spirited Alba side.

"We made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, and (our) coordination was very bad," Nowitzki said in German afterward. "We have a lot of work ahead of us. But Alba played a very good game."

Nowitzki paid tribute to the 14,500 fans who gave him a rousing reception but conceded his performance left room for improvement.

"I also have to work hard on myself," said 34-year-old, who missed a simple score when all alone in the second quarter.

The outstanding Deon Thompson contributed 20 points for Alba, which won the first quarter 23-21 due to its strong defense, with fellow American Dashaun Wood also impressive.

The Mavericks recovered to lead 45-39 at halftime, thanks to Collison and Carter combining for 19 points. Collison also had four assists at that stage. He ended the game with eight.

When Alba guard Nihad Djedovic made it a one-point game in the final quarter, Delonte West replied with a 3-pointer and the visitors held their nerve to see out the remaining two minutes.

However, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was unhappy with his side's 27 turnovers and has an injury worry over Rodrigue Beaubois, who went off in the third quarter while clutching his left ankle.

With Nowitzki failing to make an impact, Carlisle was happy other players stepped up to get the Mavericks out of trouble.

"I was pleased with how Kaman got himself back in the game after a difficult start," said Carlisle, who also praised Shawn Marion as "probably the best player on the court in terms of making plays."

The Mavericks' next game on the NBA Europe Live tour is at 17-time Spanish champion FC Barcelona Rega on Tuesday. The team then returns home to face Houston on Oct. 15 in Dallas.

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