THE BIG EASY STEAL
Almost 24 hours after a double-overtime buzzer beating victory over the Sacramento Kings, the Mavs were in the Big Easy taking on the Pelicans for the fourth time this season. The Mavs have had trouble with New Orleans in their previous three matchups, winning just one of those games. On Wednesday night the Mavs had other ideas however, stealing one from the Pelicans, 100-91.
In lieu of the putting his big guns right back out there after an exhausting affair the night before, Rick Carlisle opted to rest Dirk, D-Will, Zaza, and Wes for the night. ... Instead rolling out a starting lineup that consisted of J.J. Barea, Ray Felton, CP, Javale McGee and Charlie V. Mavs fans even got a rare Jeremy Evans sighting to keep things interesting.
“We are deep,'' coach Rick Carlisle said after the win. "You never like sitting down four starters, but we did feel it was necessary. We also felt that we had enough to win the game if we played the right way. And give our guys a lot of credit.''
Lots of credit to the lone remaining regular, as Chandler Parsons would attempt to carry the Mavs on his back early on, scoring 19 first-half points. On the game, CP finished with 21 points, eight rebounds, and six assists on 56-percent shooting. He also did all of this while playing just 24 hours removed from an injury that forced him out of Monday night’s game. It was a gutty performance by the Mavs swingman, who if nothing else, proved that he can maybe-just-maybe be relied on as the go-to-guy when the Mavs need him.
As a team, the Mavs shot 42.5 percent from the field, while shooting just 25 percent from three. While it’s not hard to believe that the Mavs would struggle from the field with so much offensive firepower sitting on the bench, this is still a Rick Carlisle-coached team, and he always has his guys ready to play. (Well, except for those nights when he threatens to trade everybody to Siberia.)
Davis dominated the game for the Pelicans early, scoring 14 points and grabbing four rebounds in the first quarter. The Brow still finished the game with a near triple-double of 26 points 12 rebounds and seven assists, but his impact in the game was drastically reduced in the final three quarters.
New Orleans shot just 37 percent from the field, and struggled to find consistency for the majority of this game on the offensive end. Anthony Davis had a hard time getting going in the second half of the game, but wasn’t the only Pelican that took a ride on the struggle bus. A lot of that struggle was due in part to the Mavs scrappy defensive effort, led by Devin Harris and Ray Felton.
The Mavs, who were hanging around all night with a roster that was seemingly put together with duct tape and glue before the game started, finally took control of the game for good in the fourth quarter. Offensively, the Mavs moved the ball well and hit timely shots; Defensively, they made the Pelicans take tough shots, forced turnovers, and got after the boards. In short, Dallas did all of the things that can help a team overcome a talent gap in an NBA game.
Raymond Felton would ultimately close things for Dallas, hitting a couple of big shots to put the Pelicans away. Felton had 22 points and six assists on six of 14 shooting, with a good bit of those points coming in clutch spots. Dwight Powell came out of mothballs and recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. JJ Barea scored 11 points and Devin Harris finished with 10 points. (Who deserves "The Dirkie'' for this one? Ray-Ray? CP? You vote here on DB.com Boards!)
When all is said and done this is a very impressive win for the Mavs, especially in a tight Western Conference where every win counts. With five road games in their next six, the 21-15 Mavs are in for a test. But after a game like this -- and the last two, really -- they deserve some benefit of the doubt in each and every one of them.
DOWN ON THE FARM
We've seen lots of Justin Anderson with the Texas Legends, but he got 17 minutes with the Big Club in New Orleans. It's all part of the development that defines the D-League ... And we're seeing that process unfold in the case of center Michael Eric. See that story here. Meanwhile, here's the D-League Weekly Update and a note here to circle the date for: Fish and Choppy will telecast the Jan. 16 Legends game featuring a tribute to the heroic Chris Kyle. Details here.
THE FINAL WORD
"This is a really huge win for us. We understood that a lot of our guys were sitting tonight, so it’s going to give other guys opportunity. “So many guys stepped up, and we played together. We played unselfish.” - Chandler Parsons