Mavs 108, Pelicans 89: All-Access Donuts

After closing the first half with a 12-4 run, the Mavs would not look back, leading by as much as 14 in the third and 23 in the fourth on Wednesday before finalizing a 108-89 win over the Pelicans. Dallas is presently the No. 6 seed in the West, a subject of conversation as we go into the locker room for Mavs All-Access Donuts!

DONUT 1: Mavs 108, Pelicans 89 ....

Returning home after sweeping their three-game road trip, the Dallas Mavericks welcomed the New Orleans Pelicans. ...

Losers of four straight and injury-riddled ... and soon-to-be further depleted after Anthony Davis sprained his left should in the second quarter and did not return for the second half.

Dallas looked like a team suffering from a momentary lapse of relaxation after returning to the comforts of home, getting off to a slow start and trailing by seven at the end of one. After closing the first half with a 12-4 run, the Mavs would not look back, leading by as much as 14 in the third and 23 in the fourth, before finalizing the 108-89 win.

DONUT 2: The official highlight reel ....

"I think we are coming along at the right time,'' Monta Ellis said. "I think everybody is tuned in and accepting their role of what they need to do to help us win. The biggest thing is that everyone is playing together."

See what he means:

DONUT 3: Fright Night ...

On the first possession of the game, Dirk Nowitzki fed a nice alley-oop pass to Samuel Dalembert for a lay-in … and immediately grabbed his left shoulder, letting the arm hang limp as the made his way to the defensive end of the court. Rick Carlisle called a timeout as soon as he could, Dirk had his left shoulder examined on the bench and quickly went back to the locker room.

Contact was minimal, with Dirk's left arm holding up low in the follow through to soften the approach of Al-Farouq Aminu, but the there was nothing of note there, no real pressure or hit. It was the brand of injury we all fear seeing the most, the dreaded "no-contact" variety that so often carries with it an ominous foreshadowing of prolonged absence.
Nowitzki checked out with 11:29 remaining in the first. Just as our fears began to do more than merely flutter in our chests, to clutch at our throats, they were set at ease. With 8:44 on the clock, still in the first, he was checking back in showing no lingering signs of discomfort.

Dirk finished with 18 points, 7-of-13 field goals, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and one turnover … and was only needed for 27 minutes with the game well in hand late.

"I think the shoulder popped a little bit,'' Dirk said later. "I've had it ever since Karl Malone hacked me in '99. ... Hopefully I can still play tennis with it when my career's over.''

And Dirk on Dallas' hot streak:

"I thought here in February we'd be winning some games, but really you look at the schedule and it's all games we're supposed to win,' 'Nowitzki said.

Dirk's Video Visit:

DONUT 4: Have it all ...

Monta Ellis scored 23, hitting 8-of-18 shots, to go with seven assists, four rebounds, four steals and only two turnovers.

There have been moments of frustration, generally fueled by turnovers or questionable shot attempts, but there's little denying that Ellis has been a huge contributor to a team that now has a 36-23 record and sits as the sixth seed in the Western Conference after Chicago, the Mavs next opponent, easily handled the Golden State Warriors Wednesday night.

To help put this in perspective, this was the seventh time this season Ellis has totaled at least 23 points and seven assists.

The last Mavs player to accomplish this at least seven times in a single season: Dirk Nowitzki in 2006-07, when he did so exactly seven times.

Jose Calderon and Dirk have done so once this year. OJ Mayo and Collison each did it once last year. Jason Terry's high for a single season was four times, also in 2006-07.

Throw in the fact that Ellis had four steals in this game, and the last Dallas player to have at least 23 points, seven assists and four steals was: Dirk Nowitzki, back on Nov. 4, 2004.

Here's Monta's Video Visit (featuring his search for his kid):

DONUT 5: The Mavs Podcast ...

We have our infamous Mavs Podcast here on iTunes and up and running below as well ... with a very special cast of characters:

Mike Fisher, Kevin Turner and Mike Marshall pull up a chair to the hoops roundtable to kick around the issues as we dish about MavsWorld.

The Mavs Podcast, y'all!

DONUT 6: Still able to impress ...

Vince Carter began the season slumping, to put it mildly. He still has more games of shooting below 33 percent (24) than shooting over 45 (22 times), and has endured the ups and down you would expect of a 37-year-old scorer who once dominated in large part due to the sheer brilliance of his athleticism … but within the rise and fall of his output, there come the spikes.

Over the last three games, Carter has hit 52.4 percent of his 3-point attempts and is averaging 19.3 points … which leads the Mavs, just ahead of Dirk and Ellis, both averaging 19.

Included in that three-game stretch is his performance from Wednesday night against the Pelicans, where he totaled: 17 points, 6-of-9 field goals, 1-of-3 behind the arc, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and two turnovers in 21:37.

"In my mind,'' Vince said, "the second part of the season after the All-Star Break is 'money time.' That's when you earn your money and what's most important for players as well as the team, so I've just been locked in.''

Vince's Video Visit:

DONUT 7: Who Deserves 'The Dirkie'? ...

Lots of candidates who need lots of your votes on Who Deserves "The Dirkie'' as the Player of the Game ... we run a democracy around here, so YOU vote!

DONUT 8: Ellington over Crowder ...

For the third consecutive game, Wayne Ellington took the minutes that have gone to Jae Crowder for the majority of this season. In return, Ellington continued his hot shooting, converting a blistering 66.7 percent behind the arc over that stretch, including 4-of-5 against the Pelicans.

"He kept himself ready,'' coach Rick Carlisle said of Ellington. "He hasn't played a lot this year, but when he has, he's played effectively. This past week was time to give him a shot, and he's responded well. What gets people's attention is when he makes shots, but he does it in other things as well, or better. Just playing hard on defense, being in the right place, doing things hard, making simple hard plays.

"So he's given us a lift."

DONUT 9: Mavsellaneous ...

*With 15, Dallas had its second highest total in steals this season. Last season, they never had more than 13 in a game, a total this team has now eclipsed three times (17 against the Lakers, 15 against the Pelicans, 14 against Houston).
*The Mavs converted at least 40 percent of their 3-pointers 24 times this season, including 45.5 percent Wednesday night. They are 18-6 in those games.

*The Mavs winning percentage when allowing their opponent to hit at least half of their shots is .400 … the league as a whole was 57-211 (not including Wednesday night's games), a winning percentage of .213.

*When Monta Ellis scores at least 20 points, the Mavs are 20-13 … when he gets at least 23, they are 11-4.

*They are 16-6 when he gets 7-or-more assists.

*If Ellis gets 23 points and 7 assists … they are 7-0.

*With eight, Brandan Wright had his second best rebounding total of the season. He finished with eight points, eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks in 23:43, getting/earning the most minutes of the centers.

*What does all of the above mean? Dallas is faring much better than most when the defense falters.

*For the third time this season, the Mavs have a winning streak of at least four games. The last time they had more such streaks in a season: 2010-11, when they had seven.
*Per the Mavs telecast, after three makes Wednesday night gave him a total of 143, Jose Calderon now has the most 3-pointers made in franchise history for a player in his first season with Dallas.

*Sources tell that Dallas' pursuit of any buyout free agent is a "long shot.'' In connection with that, we're got the scoop on the Mavs' view of Danny Granger here and a note that in terms of some of the guard help that's available, Dallas presently thinks it's pretty loaded up in the backcourt. We'll keep you posted.

DONUT 10: Quoteboard ...

"I think we are stringing together multiple stops and sharing the ball a lot more. If we continue doing that we will continue to get better. We are not over the hump just yet but we are showing signs of how good we can possible be." - Shawn Marion.

Get even more Quoteboard here. ... and thanks to for helping bring it to you!

DONUT 11: Rick's Video Visit ...

DONUT 12: The Final Word ....

February has been a month about doing what you're "supposed" to for the Mavs. Playing a schedule littered by lesser opponents, Dallas has met expectations, posting a 9-2 record for the month. Beginning with Friday's matchup with the 31-26 Chicago Bulls that laid waste to the Warriors as the Mavs did the same to the Pelicans, the tone changes.

"It's going to be a grind,'' Shawn Marion said, looking forward to Chicago. "For some reason it is always a grind against them, that is just the way they play. They fight to the end. We know what we have to do and what kind of game it is going to be so we have to get our minds and bodies ready for it."

Four of the next five are "going to be a grind,'' too, as four of the next five against teams over .500: Chicago, at San Antonio, at Denver, Portland and Indiana … with 25-31 Denver as the only "supposed to" in the group.

No longer will it be about games the Mavs should win, but about proving what matchups they can win.

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