Game 10: Mavs vs. Pelicans

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Barnes Drops 26

Harrison Barnes scores 26 points with with six rebounds and three assists.

DALLAS — Attempting to bring an end to a four-game losing streak, the Dallas Mavericks stepped onto their home hardwood and tried to feed off the energy of their own fans Friday night against a Southwest Division rival.

Welcoming in the New Orleans Pelicans, the Mavericks tried to end their sluggish start to the season. The Mavs also attempted to begin a daunting back-to-back with a win before traveling to Minnesota for a matchup Saturday night against the Timberwolves. But despite fighting valiantly for 48 minutes, the Mavericks (1-9) would continue to find themselves on the losing end of the scoreboard after a 99-94 defeat.

“Losing is never fun, especially to an organization and franchise that’s used to winning a lot with over 10 years of winning 50 games,” 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said after the loss. “That has been tough, but I think it’s way too early to kind of give up. We’ve got to keep grinding. I know the schedule is extremely tough here in November, but we’ve got to keep grinding, trying to find schemes that work and trying to find lineups that work best. You know, when you’re losing you’ve got to keep searching and keep trying until you get some wins and figure some things out.”

One game after being moved to the bench in favor of veteran reserve guard Devin Harris, 23-year-old center Nerlens Noel slid back into the starting lineup alongside Nowitzki, versatile forward Harrison Barnes, swingman Wesley Matthews and rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. Meanwhile, the Mavs tried to get off to a fast start against the Pelicans’ formidable front line of All-Star big men DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis.

Instead, the Pelicans’ twin towers would get the visiting team off to an 8-2 start while dominating the early minutes of the opening quarter. Matthews tried to get his team going with the Mavericks’ first seven points of the night. Smith lent some assistance with a three-pointer to keep the Mavs within five at 15-10. A pair of triples would follow later in the quarter from veteran backup point guard J.J. Barea and second-year standout Yogi Ferrell to cut the deficit to three after the Pelicans (4-5) opened up a double-digit lead. Still, despite ending the period on an 11-2 run, the Mavericks trailed 28-25 after 12 minutes of play.

Continuing their run into the second stanza after a pair of free throws by Harris, the Mavs scratched and clawed their way within one. The Mavericks then surged in front on the scoreboard after Barea found a cutting Harris to put the Dallas squad up by one, 31-30.

However, the sequence would prove to be short-lived momentum after Darius Miller’s three gave the Pelicans a 35-31 edge to force a timeout by Mavs coach Rick Carlisle with 7:59 left in the half. Davis then began to have his way inside at both ends of the court as the Pelicans threatened to pull away. And despite an emphatic dunk from Smith to highlight the quarter, the Mavericks trailed 55-46 entering the halftime intermission as Davis exploded for 21 points through two quarters.

Led by Davis’ 8-of-10 shooting, the Pelicans’ 48.8 percent from the field as a team in the first half bettered the Mavs’ 39.1 percent. The Pelicans also held a 27-22 rebounding advantage behind Cousins’ 12 boards inside.

“They were just switching, and we were taking too long to make our decisions on whether we were going to attack, pass or shoot. You know, we’ve just got to get used to switching,” Smith would later explained. “As a team, I think we’re spacing a little better. It was a couple of times it got pretty mucked up early in the first half, but we figured it out and at times our spacing looked pretty good.”

After scoring 15 first-half points to keep his team in the game, Barnes tried to lead a comeback effort in the third quarter. But with the Pelicans once again opening up a double-digit lead following an 8-0 start to the period, frustration would build for the Mavericks as Matthews was assessed a technical foul at the 9:38 mark of the third.

The Dallas offense grew stagnant from there to overshadow Tunisian center Salah Mejri’s spark at the defensive end of the floor. Meanwhile, Barnes continued to carry the scoring burden to bring the Mavericks within 11, 67-56, with 4:35 left in the quarter. But after the Mavs closed to within six, the Pelicans caught fire from behind the three-point arc to take a 75-63 advantage into the final period.

Opening the fourth quarter with a three-pointer from Miller, the Pelicans kept their foot on the gas. But after a flagrant-one foul call on Miller for a slap across Nowitzki’s face with 9:56 remaining, the Mavericks still continued to find themselves in the game.

Barea then tried to will his team in front while taking over the scoring duties. However, after Davis’ score inside with 7:59 left to play, Carlisle was forced to burn a timeout with his team down 85-72. The Mavs ramped up the defensive intensity from there while implementing a full-court press. Still, despite a late scoring barrage from Smith to move into double figures, the Mavericks would come to within just five before the final buzzer sounded.

Scoring 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting, Barnes grabbed six rebounds while leading the Mavericks in a losing effort. Smith added 16 points (11 in the fourth quarter) on 7-of-20 shooting, and Barea pitched in 13 points off the bench. Meanwhile, Harris made it four Mavs in double figures with 10 points in a reserve role.

Davis led four Pelicans in double figures with 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting, grabbing 13 rebounds to boot. The Pelicans also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 40.4 percent to 38.6 percent, converting Dallas’ 15 turnovers into 20 points and adding a 53-47 rebounding advantage behind Cousins’ monster 22 boards.

“Defensively is where we’ve got to do better,” Carlisle confessed. “We battled on the boards. Salah gave us some really good minutes, but we’ve got to get more people involved. … On both ends we’ve just got little slippages, and we’ve just got to continue to work to clean them up.”

Note: The Mavericks will now travel to Minnesota to complete their back-to-back against the up-and-coming Timberwolves. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center next Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee soreness) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out

Pelicans

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
D. Cunningham, SF 16 1-4 1-3 1-2 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 4 10 4
A. Davis, PF 40 10-19 0-2 10-12 1 12 13 4 1 3 4 4 21 30
D. Cousins, C 38 8-16 0-4 4-4 2 20 22 7 1 0 4 5 6 20
E. Moore, SG 33 5-12 1-4 0-2 2 1 3 1 0 0 2 3 14 11
J. Holiday, PG 38 3-13 0-4 0-0 2 6 8 8 2 1 1 0 2 6
J. Nelson 27 1-5 0-2 4-4 0 1 1 1 2 0 0 1 -19 6
T. Allen 18 4-9 1-2 1-2 1 2 3 2 2 0 0 3 -9 10
J. Smith 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -7 0
I. Clark 12 1-4 1-3 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 3
D. Miller 12 3-6 3-5 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 1 2 -4 9
C. Diallo 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Ajinca 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
O. Asik 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
C. Cooke 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Hill 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
F. Jackson 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Jones 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Rondo 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   36-89 7-29 20-26 9 44 53 23 9 4 12 22   99
    40.4% 24.1%                      

Show Bench Hide Bench

Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 38 9-17 1-4 7-10 0 6 6 3 1 1 1 4 -17 26
D. Nowitzki, PF 21 2-9 0-1 3-3 0 6 6 0 0 0 1 1 -4 7
N. Noel, C 13 0-2 0-0 0-0 3 4 7 1 1 0 1 2 -18 0
W. Matthews, SG 38 3-12 1-6 0-0 1 1 2 1 0 0 0 3 -17 7
D. Smith Jr., PG 28 7-20 2-8 0-0 1 2 3 4 0 0 4 2 -12 16
D. Powell 12 1-3 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 1 1 0 0 3 3 2
J. Barea 22 5-9 3-6 0-0 1 3 4 5 0 0 4 0 9 13
S. Mejri 21 3-4 0-0 1-3 3 10 13 0 0 5 4 4 6 7
Y. Ferrell 21 2-7 2-6 0-0 0 3 3 3 0 1 0 2 11 6
D. Harris 20 2-5 0-2 6-6 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 3 14 10
G. Clavell 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Kleber 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Withey 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Curry 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Finney-Smith 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. McRoberts 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Motley 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   34-88 9-34 17-22 9 38 47 19 4 7 15 24   94
    38.6% 26.5%                      

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Turn And Fire

Harrison Barnes works on the block and connects on the turnaround jumper.


In The Lane

Wesley Matthews gets into the lane and connects on the floater.


Powell With The Slam

Dwight Powell gets the slam inside.

Aerial Attack

Nerlens Noel finds Dennis Smith Jr. slashing for the huge highlight jam.

Mejri With The Jam

Salah Mejri rises for the jam.

Mejri Erases It

Salah Mejri rises to erase the shot attempt from Dante Cunningham.

Mejri Says No

Salah Mejri rises and swats the shot out of bounds.

DALLAS — Despite getting off to a fast start Wednesday night in Los Angeles with a shakeup to the first unit, the Dallas Mavericks couldn’t sustain their success while suffering a fourth straight loss overall.

Inserting veteran guard Devin Harris into the starting lineup and sitting 23-year-old center Nerlens Noel, the Mavericks (1-8) built an early 18-10 advantage against the high-octane L.A. Clippers. However, the Mavs would quickly run out of steam later in the opening quarter before eventually falling to a 119-98 lopsided loss. Still, according to Harris, there were things to build on after ending a string of sluggish starts. And with the New Orleans Pelicans set to invade American Airlines Center on Friday, the Mavericks could once again feature the cat-quick guard in the first unit before venturing out to the East Coast for two games.

“It was a little bit different,” Harris said of the lineup change. “Obviously, usually I’m trying to catch the pace when I come into the game, and starting you get to set it a little bit better. And I thought we got off to a good start, but I’m not going to get used to it. I know it’s not something [Mavs coach Rick Carlisle] likes to do. I think anything is on the table right now to try to get us out of this rut. We’re going to try some different lineups and see what works.”

The Mavericks hope they choose a starting lineup that works Friday night against the Southwest Division rival Pelicans (3-5). And after seeing the Pelicans make a trade that shook up the division last season by acquiring DeMarcus Cousins from Sacramento to pair with fellow All-Star big man Anthony Davis, the Mavericks know they’ll have their hands full with the twin towers inside.

Hoping to contain Cousins and Davis in the interior, the Mavericks will attempt to load up in the paint to keep both athletic big men from having big games. The Mavs will also attempt to address their rebounding deficiencies while facing one of the most formidable front lines in the league. That said, the Mavericks’ perimeter players will have to be ready to help out inside in order for the team to collect a win on its home floor.

“We’re going to have to have double-figure rebounds from our guard positions, and I’m talking the one- and two-guard positions, especially against a team with Cousins,” Carlisle confessed last season before facing the new-look Pelicans. “[Cousins] is such a problem. You know, there’s going to be situations where we’ll have to bring help, and big guys get involved in that. And often times their responsibility is simply to block out, and so the guards have got to rebound.

“They’ve got one of the best players on the planet out there in Davis,” Carlisle added. “You know, we respect his game a lot, as do we with all of the guys on their team. They’ve done a good job of gaining a real identity this year. They’re a playmaking, high-scoring offense that can really put points on the board, and it’s going to be a lot of work for us to try to take them out of that rhythm that they’re in.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee soreness) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out