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New Orleans Pelicans bounce back in big way behind fantastic group effort, knocking off Dallas Mavericks in overtime, 129-125

Elfrid Payton notched his fifth consecutive triple-double, Julius Randle was awesome and Frank Jackson, Cheick Diallo and Kenrich Williams all rose to the occasion.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It only took three and a half minutes for Dirk Nowitzki to surpass Wilt Chamberlain for sixth place on the NBA all-time scoring list, but it took the New Orleans Pelicans all 53 minutes to eke out a victory against the Dallas Mavericks.

With 3:36 remaining in regulation, the Pelicans trailed the Mavericks by a margin of 101-94. Then Julius Randle went to work, scoring 9 straight points for New Orleans. Elfrid Payton immediately followed with five points of his own, including a big, big three-pointer. But it was a Kenrich Williams steal right after Elf’s triple with about seven seconds left — which put the Pelicans up 110-109 — that pushed them into overtime after Luka Doncic sank one of two free throws.

In that extra period, the Pelicans young core sealed the deal. Alvin Gentry entrusted Payton, Williams, Frank Jackson, Darius Miller and Cheick Diallo to close out the game and they came up money, propelling the Pelicans to the 129-125 victory over the Mavericks.

“I thought we hung in and did a good job,” said the Pelicans head coach to postgame media. “I think these are the kind of games that are great for the young guys. The plays that Kenrich made defensively. The shot that Frank made. Having Cheick in the last five minutes. All of those things I think are really invaluable as far as growing experience...The shot that Frank made tonight I thought was like — I guess I can’t say that word — a real good shot in that situation.”

After a downright disturbing finish in the Pelicans loss to the Suns about 48 hours earlier, New Orleans competitive effort was rewarded in Dallas and likely some much needed confidence infused into the memory banks of the Pelicans future.

Elfrid Payton concluded with his fifth consecutive triple-double (19 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds), joining Michael Jordan, Russell Westbrook, Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain in the record books as the only players to accomplish the feat. In addition, Elf put himself on the precipice of overtaking Chris Paul in franchise history.

Following the game, Alvin Gentry gushed about his point guard’s ability to rebound the basketball.

“The rebounding part has been the biggest surprise. To be a point guard and be able to come up with double digit rebounds night after night after night is really tough to do. Like I said, anytime they mention you in the same breath as Westbrook, you’ve got to feel real good about it. When they mention you in the same breath as Oscar Robertson, that’s a whole other area.”

Julius Randle scored a game-high 30 points and was absolutely instrumental to the victory by scoring 11 points inside the final four minutes of regulation. As for the reason he didn’t receive any action in overtime, Randle’s body didn’t comply.

“Julius has just been great the whole year, attacking the basket and doing some things,” stated Gentry. “He’s been a rock for us. I didn’t play him in the overtime because he felt like his Achilles was a little tight and his hamstring was a little tight.”

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Jackson finished with 19 points, four assists and two threes, but if you haven’t been watching consistently of late, this performance has kind of become the norm. Jackson has scored in double figures in seven straight games now and you can see the confidence growing daily. With the Pelicans grabbing the defensive rebound and leading by four points with 40 seconds left, Frank didn’t hesitate on shooting an open jumper early in New Orleans possession — nothing but net!

Anthony Davis, who I thought put together a very spirited, team-friendly effort in 21 minutes, totaled 20 points, six rebounds and five assists. He looked to find his teammates often first and four of his assists directly led to four easy buckets for Randle.

Off the bench, Darius Miller added 10 points, four rebounds and four assists and Cheick Diallo dropped a fine 8/8 line.

Last but certainly not least, Kenrich Williams proved once again just how important it is for winning teams to have a player who does all of the little things. His steal with 7.2 seconds left was the single most pivotal play of the contest.

“You just can’t look at a stat sheet and say, ‘well, he played well or he didn’t play well,’” said Gentry. “You have to be at the game and you have to see the game. You have to see the plays that he makes that are winning plays and get you extra possessions. {He} comes up with a big play when he needs to for a rebound or a defensive stop — those are things that you really can’t see. When I say he’s a coach’s player, those are the things I’m talking about.”

We hear you, Coach, but you don’t have to worry about trying to convince us any further — we all already love Kenrich!!!

Up next, the New Orleans Pelicans fly to Orlando to face the Magic on Wednesday for an early 6 p.m. tip-off.

Geaux Pels!