New Orleans Pelicans at Mavericks
(8 p.m., American Airlines Center, Dallas)
TV: Bally Sports Southwest, NBA TV
Radio: ESPN 103.3 FM (Univision 1270 AM, Spanish)
About the Mavericks (40-29): They were hoping for some help late Tuesday night, but got none. The Los Angeles Lakers rallied to beat the New York Knicks in overtime, which meant that the Mavericks still have a magic number of two to clinch at least the No. 6 playoff seed. The Mavericks need any combination of two wins or two Lakers’ losses to clinch No. 6. Or better. They enter play Wednesday tied with Portland, but the Blazers have the tiebreaker by virtue of winning two of three games this season with the Mavericks. Those two teams are both a game ahead of the Lakers . . . So the Mavericks have to take care of business, starting with the Pelicans. It’s been six weeks since the Mavericks lost in New Orleans 112-103. But in that game, Luka Dončić and Kristaps Porzingis both were out. Porzingis, who has missed the last seven games with right knee soreness, is scheduled to return tonight . . . Also, Maxi Kleber returned Tuesday at Memphis from Achilles soreness. It remains to be seen if he will play both ends of the back-to-back . . . Speaking of which, the Mavericks are 7-8 on the second night of back-to-back games . . . Tim Hardaway Jr. has been sizzling for weeks now and he continued the torrid stretch Tuesday at Memphis. He’s been averaging nearly 25 points over the last five games and has shot 52 percent from 3-point range . . . He was one of the few bright spots Tuesday night with 19 points against the Grizzlies, who dominated most of the game to end the Mavericks’ four-game winning streak . . . In spite of that dud, the he Mavericks have risen steadily in the defensive ratings and are up to 16th overall. Their field-goal percentage defense of .457 rates seventh in the league.
About the Pelicans (31-38): They are on the verge of being eliminated from the play-in tournament, having lost two of three to start this coast-to-coast five-game trip that started in Philadelphia and will end Friday at Golden State . . . They had lost five in a row to the Mavericks before their win in March. They haven’t won in Dallas since the 2018-19 season . . . Zion Williamson had 38 points and six assists in the Pels’ win in March. But he’s missed the last three games and will be out again with a fractured left ring finger . . . Also, center Steven Adams (toe), forward Josh Hart (thumb) and guard Brandon Ingram (ankle) missed Monday’s game at Memphis . . . In that game, former Maverick James Johnson had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists. He was one of seven Pelicans to score between 11 and 18 points . . . They are 21st in the NBA in defensive rating, but the one thing they do very well is rebound, at least when they are healthy. They are No. 1 in the league in offensive rebounding percentage and No. 2 in defensive rebounding percentage. The problem is that their three best rebounders (Williamson, Hart and Adams) likely are out for this game . . . Williamson’s late-season injury is unfortunate. He’s established himself as a force and a young superstar, averaging 27 points and 7.2 rebounds, along with 3.7 assists per game.