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NBA Preview: New Orleans Pelicans need to end losing skid against the 1-8 Dallas Mavericks

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Dirk Nowitzki is going to have his hands full with Boogie.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans (3-5) kick off a four-game road trip with a stop in Texas first, squaring off against the Dallas Mavericks (1-8) Friday evening.

Now, I am not guaranteeing this win because 1) it’s the NBA and these are all professional athletes, and 2) this is the Jekyll and Hyde Pelicans we are talking about. However, let’s just say that the Pelicans are rightfully the favorites to win this game.

Key Matchup

Let’s go with the rookie, Dennis Smith Jr. versus Pelican defenders. For Dallas, it has been a rough start to Dirk Nowitzki’s farewell tour, but Smith is an exciting player to watch regardless if you are a Mavericks fan or not. Look for him to try and throw down some highlight reel dunks!

In the Mavericks lone win — against the surprisingly good Grizzlies, Smith went off for 19 points, his current career-high total. He knocked down three triples, dished out five assists and provided a spark needed to win ball games because Dallas is hurting for that star player. Yeah, Harrison Barnes isn’t it.

Points of Interest

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but Jrue Holiday has not played well enough thus far. Don’t get me wrong, he hasn’t been terrible, averaging 14.9 PPG, 6.0 APG, 5.0 RPG and 1.4 SPG on 46.2% FG and 28.1% 3PT — well, that’s kinda terrible, but it’s not quite worth $126M over 5 years.

Also, the Pelicans supporting cast has not been great either as Oleh remarked the other day. E’Twaun Moore, Ian Clark and Jameer Nelson have shown well in spurts but lack the consistency the team seeks. The rest of the role players have been an utter disaster. So, let’s see if the Pelicans bench can at least carry their weight against the talent deprived Mavericks.

The Pelicans also need to work on limiting turnovers because they are hindering the defense and reducing the odds of victory. New Orleans is averaging 17.3 turnovers (6th most) which opponents have turned into 18.5 points a game on their end. Against the Timberwolves, the Pelicans committed 19 turnovers which led to 27 points for Minnesota. If you may recall, that game was tied at 98 with less than two minutes to go.

Keys to the Game

· Limit turnovers

· Bench contribution

· Don’t get posterized by Dennis Smith Jr.

Gametime

The game will tip at 7:30 PM CST on Fox Sports New Orleans. Check back with us after the contest for the game recap after what hopes to be the end of a two-game losing skid!

Geaux Pelicans!

What: New Orleans Pelicans vs Dallas Mavericks

Where: American Airlines Center

When: November 3, 2017, 7:30 PM Central

How: FSNO, WRNO 99.5 FM