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Zion’s career-high 36 points not enough as Luka Doncic scores career-best 46 in Pelicans’ 143-130 loss to Mavericks

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Dallas couldn’t be stopped from three-point range, knocking down 25 of 45 from behind the arc

New Orleans Pelicans v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans fell to the Dallas Mavericks by a final score of 143-130 Friday night because they couldn’t slow down Luka Doncic (46 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds) Kristaps Porzingis (36 points, eight 3s, seven rebounds) nor their opponent’s three-point shooting remotely enough.

Sure feels like some form of the phrase, ‘different day, same result,’ is apt, huh?

The Pelicans’ offense played well enough to win the game (52.8 FG%, 44.4 3PT%), but the Mavericks had an easier time scoring the basketball (57.5 FG%, 54.5 3PT%).

Right out of the gates, Porzingis started a scorching 4-5 from deep to score 15 points in the first quarter. Then Doncic got rolling in the second, scoring 15 points of his own. Although the Mavericks didn’t create a comfortable margin until about midway through the fourth, one never felt the Pelicans would mount a charge and threaten to take the lead at any time because Dallas never endured a cold-shooting spell.

The Mavericks finished with 25 three-pointers on 45 attempts. This type of effort coming on the heels of the Bulls canning 25 of 47 against the Pelicans on Wednesday evening makes winning games practically impossible right now.

That’s a real shame because Zion Williamson was also an unstoppable force. Actually, he was nearly flawless, missing just one of his 15 field goal attempts. He scored 23 points (career-high for a half) in the first 24 minutes, establishing himself as the first player in Pelicans history to go 10 for 10 from the field. For the game, Zion finished with a career-high 36 points, adding two rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Brandon Ingram had himself a strong offensive night, too. He began the game on fire, knocking down 6 of 9 shots for 14 points in the first quarter, and finished with a line of 30 points, five rebounds, five assists and four threes.

Eric Bledsoe added 16 points, four rebounds and four assists, Lonzo Ball dropped 12 points, seven assists and six boards, and JJ Redick scored 11 points to lead the New Orleans’ reserves.

Somehow, someway, the Pelicans are going to need to formulate a better plan in stopping opponents from the three-point line. Giving up 50 makes in two games demands such action.

Up next, the Pelicans fly to Detroit to face the Pistons on Sunday. Two more games remain on this road trip (including the Memphis Grizzlies), so let’s hope they figure out a way to avoid another catastrophic swing away from New Orleans.

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.