Minutes to tip-off, the New Orleans PR department announced Tyreke Evans would miss the game. I secretly hoped Jrue Holiday was going to move back into the starting lineup, but true to his word of keeping him a reserve, Gentry went with Norris Cole instead. As expected, the reviews were somewhat mixed, but the rest of the team performed really well and beat the Mavericks for the second time in a row this season.
Pelicans started fast on a 12-5 run, but personal fouls and turnovers tethered them to the Mavericks. New Orleans failed to hit a three-pointer, yet they managed to fare well in the scoring column thanks to 9 fast break points. After the first quarter, they held a slim 26-25 lead with Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis leading the way with 8 points a piece.
After a nice pace that led to plenty of points, the second quarter more closely resembled a heavyweight battle in the 10th round. Through the first 9 minutes, the teams had combined for just 28 points with the Mavericks ahead 17-11. However, a 9-3 spurt to close out the first half propelled the Pelicans to a 1-point at halftime, 48-47.
Four players (Davis, Gordon, Cole and Holiday) combined to score 43 of the 48 points. The Pelicans commitment to pace was stronger with Evans out, but it especially looked evident during the minutes of Toney Douglas. The uptempo style resulted in 14 first half fast break points.
After an initial spotty start, the Pelicans were the first team to find their offensive footing in the second half. Following Ryan Anderson's first three of the game, Pelicans opened up an 8 point lead with 3 and 1/2 minutes to go in the third quarter and that was the difference when the frame ended.
New Orleans started the fourth quarter well, quickly building a 12-point lead, but then came the Dallas onslaught. Back-to-back threes by Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea cut the lead to 4. Minutes later the teams started to exchange leads or sit all tied up. In the end, though, the Pelicans execution was much better, and hence they walked away the victor, ending their 6-game losing streak in Dallas.
Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 31 points and 14 rebounds. His energy and hustle were much more consistent throughout, but it would have been nicer to see a few more shots at the rim. He didn't get to the stripe for a 2nd trip until 6:48 remained in the game.
Jrue Holiday had 20 points, 2 threes, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block off the bench. Eric Gordon added 16 points and Ryan Anderson also had 16 to go with 8 rebounds. Norris Cole had a double-double but not the one you probably imagined as the team's starting point guard: 16 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.
Dirk Nowitzki paced the Mavericks with 24 points and Wesley Matthews finished with 18.