Luka Doncic scored 25 points but could not prevent the Dallas Mavericks going down to a 111-99 defeat by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the opening NBA pre-season game in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Dallas got off to a miserable start, shipping 37 points in the opening quarter.
The Mavs did show some form, outscoring their opponents in the next three quarters, but could not overhaul the deficit.
Dallas failed to get to the NBA playoffs last season despite Slovenian star Doncic average a career-best 32.4 points per game.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the scoring for Minnesota, notching 20 points for a team which was beaten in the first round of the 2023 playoffs in five games by eventual champion Denver Nuggets.
The 2023-24 NBA season gets under way on October 24. — Agence France-Presse