The New Orleans Pelicans failed to keep their win streak alive by losing 128-120 to the Dallas Mavericks, the bottom feeder in the Western Conference entering Friday night’s matchup.
Following a slow offensive start and numerous defensive failures, the Mavericks quickly found their way to a massive 77-point first half outburst. New Orleans ended the first half 23-of-45, but an abysmal 4-of-15 from three. Even so, DeMarcus Cousins tallied 24 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
Dallas continued it’s three-point success throughout out the second half as well, finishing the game with a franchise record 22 made three point attempts. Though the Mavericks regressed to the mean down the stretch, the Pelicans’ comeback effort fell short. Late in the fourth quarter, New Orleans took some questionable shots and missed several defensive assignments that Rajon Rondo pointed to after the game.
“In the fourth quarter, we didn’t make the right decisions,” said Rondo. “As far as shot selection and certain plays dug even more into a whole.”
To be noted: Rondo didn’t appear in the fourth quarter at all. Head Coach Alvin Gentry pointed to Dallas going under on him in screen situations earlier in the game as the reason behind that decision. However, Rondo had eight assists, three steals and zero turnovers during his 20 minutes of play.
Cousins finished with 32 points, 20 rebounds and eight assists in the loss, and in doing so, became the first player since Kevin Love in 2010-11 to have three games with 30 points and 20 rebounds in a single season.
Anthony Davis , who led all scorers with 33 points, was frustrated at times on the floor, and after the game he talked about the sluggish start out of the gates as being the main culprit.
“We didn’t have any energy,” said Davis. “We let them get comfortable. They didn’t feel the defense. We didn’t play with any physicality. They got easy layups, easy threes, a lot of dare shots in. They started getting hot because we allowed them to. So you get down 26 and you just try to fight back from there, but we can’t come out, and we haven’t done it in a while, but we needed this win. We need all of them honestly, but this would have been a big one for us. But we didn’t come out with energy in the first quarter.”
The Mavericks usually play a methodical style, but tonight they took full advantage of the lax effort by the Pelicans. In the first half alone, they accumulated 24 fastbreak points. Normally, they average 8.4 a game as a team.
It is understood there is a slim margin of error considering how competitive the Western Conference can be on nightly basis. This is something that always holds an underlying tone in losses like such, and it is clearly on the minds of the Pelicans as they look at the standings and their 9-8 record at home.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Dallas,” said Gentry. “They played great. They did everything that they had to do to win the game. Some of the credit has to go to them, but in our situation, we can’t afford to lose a game at home against anyone. Especially a team in the West.”
New Orleans will face the Kristaps Porzingis and the New York Knicks tomorrow evening on the second leg of this home back-to-back. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m.