GAME 63 PREVIEW
Pelicans (26-35) at Mavericks (37-25)
Time: 8:30 p.m. CT
Place: American Airlines Center, Dallas
TV: FSSW; ESPN
Radio: ESPN, 103.3 FM, Univision, 1270 AM (Spanish)
About the Mavs: This will be the last meeting this season with the Pels. The Mavericks won the first three games by a combined 62 points, averaging better than 123 points in those victories . . . The good news is that the Mavericks are returning home for a three-game stay after playing their last four on the road. That’s also the bad news as their underwhelming 16-14 home record suggests. If they ever are going to pad their home record, this would be the time as five of their next six are at AAC . . . Kristaps Porzingis is expected back in the lineup after sitting out Monday’s loss at Chicago. He’s up to 19.2 points and a team-best 9.4 rebounds per game after his torrid last month, during which he’s averaged 26.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks . . . Despite just 31.5 percent shooting from 3-point range, Luka Doncic remains one of the most dangerous all-around offensive players in the league, averaging 28.5 points and getting to the free-throw line nine times per game . . . Seth Curry missed Monday’s game with a sore back, but he had 64 points on 24-of-32 shooting in the two games before that . . . Backup point guard Jalen Brunson (right shoulder sprain) is expected to miss his sixth consecutive game but he is expected to play again later this month.
About the Pelicans: They have dropped two in a row after Tuesday’s 139-134 loss at home against Minnesota, a team that had lost seven of its previous eight . . . In that game, the Pelicans had four players score 24 points or more but played no defense, giving up 111 points in the final three quarters and allowing the Wolves to shoot 55.7 percent . . . Point guard Jrue Holiday had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists and Zion Williamson had 25 points and eight rebounds . . . It remains uncertain whether Williamson, who has been a terror since returning from knee surgery in January, will play on the second night of back-to-back games . . . They have fallen to 12th in the Western Conference and are 4½ games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot . . . Sharpshooter J.J. Redick missed the Minnesota game with a hamstring injury . . . Despite the Pels’ defensive liabilities, it would be unwise to get into a track meet with them. They are one of the league’s best 3-point shooting teams at 37.3 percent and are fourth in scoring at 116.1 points per game . . . Brandon Ingram was voted as an all-star reserve and is averaging 24.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game . . . Jaxson Hayes, the 19-year-old rookie out of Texas, is averaging 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per game.