NEW ORLEANS – Much has been made of the Dallas Mavericks’ abilities to hold their own on the road this season. Especially against some of the NBA’s elite teams.

After Tuesday’s 118-97 win over the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center, the Mavs are 8-2 on the road this season. To put that in perspective, the Mavs only won nine games away from American Airlines Center last season.

So, why such a drastic turnaround in one season?

“This is a different year,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We just go day-to-day.

“I don’t get into analyzing the big picture too much. What day is it, what time is it, what time is practice or what time is the game – let’s focus on that. And at the end of the year we’ll count them up and I can talk to you about it then.”

What folks across the NBA are talking about is that the Mavs have gone into Denver, Houston and Los Angeles and beaten the Nuggets, Rockets and Lakers, respectively. The Nuggets are the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, the Rockets are the fifth seed, and the Lakers had the best record in the entire NBA and were riding a massive 10-game winning streak when the Mavs dumped them in their backyard, 114-100, on Sunday.

“We feel like we’ve got a lot of confidence in this team that we can beat anybody in the league and we’re going out there and showing it,” guard Seth Curry said. “We’ve been mentally tough on the road.

“We’ve been down a couple of times and fought back, and we’ve been up and been able to push the lead even more in the second half. Our starting group has done a good job over the past week of playing well in the second half, and the bench has come in and either extended the lead or kept it the way it was. You’ve got to have a full team effort on the road.”

Last year the Mavs didn’t win their seventh road game until Mar. 23. This year the only teams who have more victories on the road than the Mavs are the Milwaukee Bucks and the Lakers, who each have won nine road games.

Now, the Mavs just want to make some adjustments at AAC, where they’re only 6-4.

“I think we’ve got a little bit more focus on the road,” Curry said. “Obviously we’ve got a lot of talent on this team, a lot of guys who can do a lot of different stuff.

“We’ve got what it takes to win, but when we go on the road we have that little bit more mental focus. Hopefully we can turn that around at home and a little bit better at home consistently, but it’s good to get off to a good start on the road.”

DEEP BENCH: It’s no secret that the Mavs have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA. And that’s one of the reasons they’ve gotten off to such a good start this season.

But it also makes for a situation where some players may not get the minutes they want.

“The problem of playing time is a good problem to have,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It means that you’ve got depth on your bench.

“It’s very hard to play 13 guys every game. We played 11 (Sunday) night against the Lakers and they all played when it counted. One thing about the roster that we like is that we have diversity (and) we have versatility on the roster.”

SAY WHAT?: On Monday, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had some kind words to say about the Mavs.

When he was asked by a writer from a national publication of the possibility of the Mavs making the playoffs this season, Morey said: “Make the playoffs? They are one of the best teams in the NBA.”

When told of that remark by Morey, guard Seth Curry said: “It’s early right now. Our goal right now is to make the playoffs and then see what happen.

“I know we’re playing well right now, but we’ve got to keep it going. It’s a small sample size thus far. It’s about consistency throughout the full season.”

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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