The last time the Pelicans and Mavericks got together was December 29 and the Mavericks dealt New Orleans one of their more disappointing defeats of the 2017-18 season. Some notable highlights, or lowlights depending on your perspective, from the game: Dallas scored an eye-popping 77 points in the first half and a franchise record 22 three pointers; Dennis Smith Jr. recorded his first career triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists; and Dallas got 60 points off the bench thanks in large part to Dwight Powell, Devin Harris and J.J. Barea. Other than that it was totally awesome and not sad at all.
Since that frustrating 128-120 loss, the Pelicans have rocketed up the standings with a 17-8 record. Dallas, on the other hand, has stayed in the cellar that is the Western Conference standings. Anthony Davis had 33 points in the previous game against the Mavericks and has upped his play from All-Star level to demigod.
To say the Mavericks have not had a very good season, both on and off the basketball court, doesn’t do justice. The explosive news about the corrosive workplace year after year is no joke. Let’s pray Mark Cuban is up to the task of cleaning up the organization.
Anyway, Dallas ranks 27th in points and 28th in rebounding; they’re also allowing the 10th most points per game. Between recent play and overall statistics, this should be a game New Orleans has no issues with. But, New Orleans knows better than anybody that Dallas can sneak up on you and hand you an unexpected loss. Analysis like that is why they pay me the big bucks.
Good teams know at this point of the season that you absolutely have to beat the tanking teams. Outside of the San Antonio Spurs, no one else competing for postseason play seems to know how to lose anymore. Even the Lakers are trying to make themselves relevant. New Orleans has been playing like a good team lately — crunch time has been a lifesaver — but they mustn’t take the Mavericks lightly.
It cost them last time.
We’ll see if they’ve learned their lesson.
What: New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks
Where: American Airlines Arena
When: March 4, 2018, 6:00 p.m. Central
How: FSNO, WRNO 99.5 FM