Mavs begin season at home against Rockets

DALLAS (AP) - The Houston Rockets are off to an unbeaten start to the NBA regular season, albeit after just one game. The Dallas Mavericks try to get off to a 1-0 start tonight as they open their season at home against the Rockets, who beat the Memphis Grizzlies at home last night, 82-71. Rick Carlisle debuts as the Mavs' new coach tonight.

An overview of the 2008-09 Dallas Mavericks:

LAST SEASON: 51-31, lost to New Orleans 4-1 in first round.

STARTING FIVE: G Jason Kidd (10.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 10.1 apg), G
Antoine Wright (6.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.4 apg), F Josh Howard (19.9
ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.2 apg), F Dirk Nowitzki (23.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 3.5
apg), C Erick Dampier (6.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg).

KEY ADDITIONS: C DeSagana Diop (free agent, Nets), F Shawne
Williams (trade, Pacers).

KEY LOSSES: G Eddie Jones (trade, Pacers).

COACH: Rick Carlisle, first season with Mavericks, seventh season overall; 281-211.

EYES ON: Howard. Has found himself in enough off-the-court situations that fans could turn on him if his level of play slips. Luckily for Howard, that shouldn't be a problem, since some people consider him, and not Nowitzki, the Mavericks' most talented player.

OUTLOOK: The Kidd trade didn't work for the Mavs, ending in another brief playoff appearance. But with a whole season for the point guard to learn how to get the most out of the players around him, Dallas hopes to return toward the top of the West standings.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)