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Mavs Carlisle Pleased With 2-Way Work of Cleveland and Reaves

The Dallas Mavericks are stretched thin when it comes to wing depth, but their Two-Way players, Antonius Cleveland and Josh Reaves, showed to be capable of contributing in the teams final NBA scrimmage against the Philadelphia 76ers

Two of the Dallas Mavericks' least-likely helpers impressed coach Rick Carlisle in Tuesday's preseason victory over the Sixers in Orlando.

(Antonius) Cleveland and (Josh) Reaves both played very very well,'' Carlisle said after Dallas 118-115 win in OT. "They're both really good defenders. They're both improved 3-point shooters and they can both drive the ball. 

"They're there, they're ready."

Hopefully, despite some ups and downs in this final tuneup before Friday's re-boot opener against Houston, the Mavs as a whole are ready as well.

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After taking a nine-point lead into halftime of their final “bubble scrimmage” against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Mavericks were outscored by 15 points in the third quarter alone. That surely left a bad taste in the mouths of Mavs fans everywhere who were tuning in, especially since the 76ers’ run happened while Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis were still in the game.

The mood of the scrimmage changed in the fourth quarter, though, as the Mavs’ ‘bench mob’ led a very entertaining comeback that stretched into overtime. Veteran guards J.J. Barea and Trey Burke contributed their fair shares, but the most promising performances - certainly in terms of the surprise factor - came from the Mavs’ two-way contract players, Antonius Cleveland and Josh Reaves.

Both players provided sparks on both ends of the court. Cleveland finished with 14 points, shooting 5-of-8 from the field (2-of-4 from deep), four rebounds, one assist and one block, all of which came in the fourth quarter and overtime period.

Reaves only played nine minutes in this one, about half of the court time Cleveland saw, but he made those minutes count. Reaves scored just seven points on 3-of-5 shooting, but all of those buckets came in a timely manner. 

We expect that Doncic (23 points) and Porzingis (17 points and 12 rebounds) will be "there and ready,'' to use Carlisle's words. (See game story for more on them.) But it might just help if Cleveland and Reaves are "there and ready'' as well.