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Game 20: Mavs at Pelicans presented-by-bbva-2 Subscribe via RSS

NEW ORLEANS — With his team set to complete its seventh back-to-back of the young season Wednesday night in New Orleans, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t hide his feelings that health and a tough schedule have been determining factors for his squad’s early record.

Entering the night with just a 2-6 mark away from home before playing the next four games all on the road, the Mavericks tried to build off their come-from-behind 89-82 win over Charlotte at home Tuesday. Meanwhile, Cuban hoped to see his team begin its daunting stretch of road games on a good note before heading to the West Coast.

“We’ve got to get better,” Cuban confessed before his team took the court. “We’ve got to close out better in games. We’ve got to get some practice time. I mean, we’ve had no practices in who knows when. We’ve got to get healthy. … The good thing is, regardless of what happens on this road trip, and obviously I want to win all four, we have a chance to get a lot better as a team with practice and getting healthy.”

Cuban then saw the Mavericks (12-8) collect their second victory in as many nights, ending their Southwest Division rival’s three-game victorious stretch in the process after scratching and clawing to a 100-97 win.

With first-string point guard Jose Calderon continuing to play through a bone bruise in his right ankle one game after returning to the court, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle decided to make a change to his starting center spot, replacing Samuel Dalembert with big man DeJuan Blair. Blair would then take quick advantage of his second start of the season, scoring back-to-back baskets after 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki opened the night with a 3-pointer. Calderon jumped into the mix after that, connecting on a 3-pointer before a three-point play over Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday.

The Mavs slid into the second stanza from there with a 27-24 edge.

Unable to shake the Pelicans (9-9) early in the second quarter, the Mavs would see the New Orleans team assume control of the scoreboard after Eric Gordon answered rookie point guard Gal Mekel’s triple with a 3-pointer of his own. Blair then did his best to keep the Mavs locked in a dogfight, scoring 12 first-half points as his team headed into the intermission down one, 53-52.

Led by Blair’s 6-of-9 shooting, the Mavs’ 43.8 percent from the field as a team just bettered New Orleans’ 42.6 percent. However, the Pelicans held a 31-20 edge in the rebounding department through two quarters of play, neutralizing the Mavs’ 6-of-12 shooting from 3-point range.

“I thought in the first half it was a little bit too easy,” Nowitzki explained. “There were a lot of layups. Whether it was Gordon or [Al-Farouq] Aminu attacking us in transition or whether it was Holiday, I thought they got a lot of layups in transition. I thought in the second half we did a better job of getting back and making them come through us.”

After allowing Aminu to record a double-double in the first half with 10 points and 11 rebounds, the Mavs continued to struggle containing the lanky forward as his slam boosted the home team to a 60-56 edge, leading to a timeout by Carlisle with 7:57 left in the third. The Mavs came right  back, tying the game at 65-all before an 8-0 New Orleans run culminated on a 3-pointer by Holiday.

Mavs sixth man Vince Carter then broke out of his shooting slump as he and second-year standout Jae Crowder brought the visitors within two, 77-75, entering the fourth.

After a Carter drive and feed to Dalembert for the score inside to tie the game, Nowitzki took matters into his own hands, draining a jumper and then converting on a three-point play to take an 82-77 edge with 10:08 left to play. Not be outdone, Holiday led the Pelicans back, tying the game at 86-all on a 3-pointer and forcing a timeout by Carlisle with 6:47 remaining.

However, Carter would settle his team down, scoring on a drive before Calderon’s back-to-back triples while trying to keep the Pelicans at bay. Nowitzki’s jumper with 2:30 left then created a little breathing room, lifting the Mavs to a 97-94 edge.

But the lead wasn’t save as Holiday connected on another shot from behind the arc, tying the game with 1:28 still on the clock. Nowitzki then drew a foul on the All-Star guard at the other end of the floor, splitting a pair at the line to put the Mavs ahead one with 31.1 seconds for New Orleans to respond. The Dallas defense would do the rest, scrambling for a stop before Nowitzki grabbed the rebound and headed to the foul line, icing the game with a 2-for-2 trip with 8.0 ticks on the clock.

Ryan Anderson’s miss from 3-point range then secured the win for the Mavericks in the final seconds.

“It was a tight game there in the fourth. I mean, it could have gone either way,” Nowitzki confessed. “It was a fun game to be a part of, and finally we were on the other end one time off execution, getting stops and getting some big rebounds. That was definitely a fun one to get against a very good team.”

Scoring 21 points on 7-of-17 shooting, Nowitzki finished the night leading six Mavs in double figures. Carter added 15 points off the bench while leading scorer Monta Ellis pitched in 14 points. Calderon and Blair contributed 12 points apiece, and four-time All-Star Shawn Marion added 10 points in the first unit.

Holiday led all five New Orleans starters in double figures with 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting and 4-of-5 from long range. However, the Mavs finished the night outshooting the Pelicans, 43.0 percent to 40.4 percent, overcoming a 58-38 rebounding disadvantage. New Orleans also ended the game with a 48-38 edge in points in the paint and 19-10 margin in second-chance points.

“Dirk got going in the second half. You know, late third and early fourth he was huge. I thought the bench gave us a lot of energy tonight. We needed great balance to win this game, coming in on the second night of a back-to-back. We had six guys in double figures, which was big. We had to get a few stops at the end, and we had a little good fortunate that the last shot missed. But I thought we played hard enough to deserve a little bit of luck at the end,” Carlisle concluded.

Note: The Mavericks will now return home before heading to Portland for a matchup Saturday against the Trail Blazers. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 9 p.m. CT.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Saturday, Dec. 14, against O.J. Mayo and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Mavs lead the season series 1-0 after a 91-83 victory in Milwaukee back on Nov. 9. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.


Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki, F327-171-36-8077324111021
Shawn Marion, F354-82-30-014511111-710
DeJuan Blair, C296-100-00-304400104112
Jose Calderon, G314-113-101-100042010-112
Monta Ellis, G395-130-04-6066103010-314
Vince Carter245-93-42-223540013715
Jae Crowder142-61-22-21230002367
Samuel Dalembert183-60-00-04371010126
Gal Mekel101-41-10-00001000253
Wayne Ellington40-20-10-001110101-50
Devin Harris00-00-00-00000000000
Bernard James00-00-00-00000000000
Shane Larkin00-00-00-00000000000
Ricky Ledo00-00-00-00000000000
Brandan Wright00-00-00-00000000000
37-8611-2415-22830382588716 100
New Orleans Pelicans
Al-Farouq Aminu, F338-170-10-04162013031116
Ryan Anderson, F416-191-55-57714100121018
Jason Smith, C356-100-00-036911122-1412
Eric Gordon, G356-142-51-213420033215
Jrue Holiday, G3610-174-52-213490034626
Tyreke Evans221-90-16-613441021-38
Anthony Morrow100-50-40-000010100-20
Lou Amundson110-00-00-010110023-50
Brian Roberts111-20-00-002210000-92
Darius Miller10-10-10-000000001-10
Josh Childress00-00-00-00000000000
Anthony Davis00-00-00-00000000000
Austin Rivers00-00-00-00000000000
Greg Stiemsma00-00-00-00000000000
Jeff Withey00-00-00-00000000000
38-947-2214-1518405821521617 97

NEW ORLEANS — After six back-to-backs in the month of November, the Dallas Mavericks begin December in the same fashion.

Fortunately for the Mavericks (11-8), Wednesday night’s matchup in New Orleans comes 24 hours after a come-from-behind win on their home floor. And while trying to carry the momentum of Tuesday night’s 89-82 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats into four consecutive road games, the Mavs will now attempt to improve on their 2-6 record away from home.

“We needed that win before we head out on the road,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said after leading a fourth-quarter rally against the Bobcats. “We’ve got some tough games starting (Wednesday) and then we go out West, so we definitely needed this one before we leave.”

However, on the road against the red-hot Pelicans (9-8), the Mavericks admit that they can’t find themselves down double digits like Tuesday night, especially with the New Orleans team still flying high after a 131-128 victory in triple overtime over Chicago on Monday night.

Outscoring the Bobcats in the final period, 29-15, the Mavs leaned on their top two scorers to carry them down the stretch as Nowitzki and 2-guard Monta Ellis combined to score the team’s final 19 points. Nowitzki also worked through his own struggles after 1-of-10 shooting in the first half, finishing the night hitting 10 of 21 shots from the field and scoring 21 of his 25 points in the second half.

“My team, obviously, wants me to keep attacking, and I finally got some to go down,” Nowitzki said. “And then Monta was great down the stretch. You know, the pick-and-roll is really our bread and butter, and Monta really attacked well off of it and made some shots. They went under some, and he rose up behind the screen and really put it away for us in the fourth.”

“We had to find a way,” Ellis added after filling up the stat sheet with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists. “You know, we got defensive stops and got to the other end and made shots. … I mean, we were just reading one another. You know, Dirk did a great job of keeping us close and then he got us ahead. We ran the two-man game, and we just picked through to see what the defense was doing.”

Now, the Mavs hope to build off that win heading into New Orleans Arena, facing a young Pelicans team that is on a three-game winning streak but playing without former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, who will likely miss four to six weeks due to a broken left hand.

Note: The Mavericks will play their next four games away from home, traveling to meet the New Orleans Pelicans Wednesday on the second night of a back-to-back. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7 p.m. CT.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Saturday, Dec. 14, against O.J. Mayo and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Mavs lead the season series 1-0 after a 91-83 victory in Milwaukee back on Nov. 9. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.