The winless Golden State Warriors will get their first chance to see what they lost as Dampier welcomes his former team to the American Airlines Center.
While Dallas boasted a prolific offense last season, scoring a league-best 105.2 points per game, its defense was equally porous, surrendering 100.8 points a contest—second-worst in the league. Hoping to improve its defense, the Mavericks acquired a legitimate post threat by signing Dampier, who spent the last seven seasons with Golden State.
Dallas is already beginning to see the improvement. The 6-foot-11, 270-pound center scored 13 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to help the Mavs in a 112-88 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.
“You finally saw the real Dampier,” said Dallas coach Don Nelson, who notched his 300th career win in his eighth season as the Mavericks coach.
The Mavericks have won their first three games, holding each opponent under 100 points. After a slow start Saturday, they rallied back by holding Memphis to 37.6 percent shooting from the floor overall and 35 points in the second half.
Dampier’s presence in the middle frees up veteran swingman Michael Finley, who scored 23 points Saturday, and three-time all-star forward Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki had 22 points and 13 rebounds against Memphis for his second double-double in three games.
”(Dampier) and Nowitzki rebounded, scored and did all the things you would expect them to do,” Nelson said.
The Warriors have struggled to generate any offense in three losses at home to open the season—the franchise’s worst start since going 0-4 in 1999-00. They are shooting a league-worst 36.8 percent from the field while making just 20 percent of their 3-point tries and 62.8 percent of their free throws.
Coach Mike Montgomery already has more defeats than he did in 32 games with the top-ranked Stanford Cardinal last season.
“I’m discouraged,” Montgomery said before his team’s 94-86 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday. “It’s discouraging only from the standpoint that I recognize how hard it is to win, and some of the things that we’ve got to do better. Right now, I think we have a little confidence problem.”
Golden State, which begins a five-game road trip, has lost 11 in a row at American Airlines Center.