Game 44 Recap: Mavs vs Pelicans

Image Credit: @PelicansNBA Twitter

On Saturday, the Dallas Mavericks played the New Orleans Pelicans as the Mavericks begin a five game road trip. The Mavericks look to get back in the win column and get back on track to finish the month of March strong. This won’t be easy as this is a tough Pelicans team the Mavericks will be playing.

On Friday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Indiana Pacers in the final home game in the month of March. The Mavericks started this game without Luka Doncic as he sat this one out due to “lower back tightness”. Without “Luka Magic” that meant the Pacers knew all the Mavericks’ “tricks” as they took command of the first half by leading 61-48 at halftime. The Pacers quickly ran away with it in the second half as the Mavericks didn’t pass the “state inspection” with engine problems due to their misfiring offense that resulted in a 109-94 loss. Without Luka, that meant that Kristaps Porzingis would need to carry the load and ultimately he did by posting 31 points, however, it still wasn’t enough for a victory. With the loss, the Mavericks record dropped to 23-20 on the season, as they are currently seventh in the western conference standings, with the San Antonio Spurs not too far behind as they are just 1/2 game behind the Mavericks. The Mavericks better be careful as this is around the time of the season where each game means twice (or maybe three) times as much. A loss here or there could very well be the difference in getting a good seed for the playoffs.

Coming into this game, the Mavericks won their last meeting with the New Orleans Pelicans 143-130 on February 12th, 2021. The Mavericks previously won all their regular season series last season 4-0 against the Pelicans for a season series sweep. Overall, the Mavericks hold the all-time series with a record of 46-22.

The New Orleans Pelicans are coming into this game by going 4-6 in their last 10 games. They are recently coming off a 113-108 loss against the Denver Nuggets on Friday to see their record drop to 19-25 on the season. The Pelicans are coming into this season with the expectation of making the playoffs. The Pelicans are currently 12th in the western conference standings but there’s still time to generate some momentum in hopes of sneaking into the playoffs. This team is led by high phenom Zion Williamson, as they look to turn their season around to grab a late seed to give Williamson some playoff experience. The Pelicans decided to hold onto Lonzo Ball as many people around the league expected him to be traded during the NBA Trade Deadline. If they can play some good basketball and remain healthy then they have a real shot at the eight seed as they are only four games back.

The Mavericks started this game by having Willie Cauley-Stein (health and safety protocols), Luka Doncic (illness), Kristaps Porzingis (right knee, injury recovery), JJ Redick (right heel soreness) and Tyrell Terry (personal reasons) ruled out for this game. Newly acquired Maverick, Nicolo Melli will be available to play in his first game as a Dallas Maverick since the trade. As a result, the Mavericks went with Brunson, Richardson, Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith and Marjanovic as their starting five in this game. The first points in the game would belong to Maxi Kleber as he nailed a jump shot for the Mavericks to get this game underway. The Pelicans wouldn’t get their first points until the 11:16 mark as Brandon Ingram drilled three free-throws to take their first lead of the game at 3-2. Both teams would have their time with the lead as this would happen for multiple minutes by exchanging buckets until the Pelicans built a two point lead on a Steven Adams 2-foot shot to take a 13-11 lead with 7:18 left in the quarter. The Pelicans would call a timeout with 6:50 left in the quarter while maintaining a two point lead. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks started the game by making five of their first nine attempts taken thus far. The Pelicans were slightly worse as they started the game by making four of their first eight attempts taken thus far. Coming out of the timeout, the Pelicans prevented the Mavericks from getting any points as Jalen Brunson missed a three pointer that kept the score at 13-11 with 6:43 left in the quarter. The Pelicans would extend their lead to five points after Nickeil Alexander-Walker drilled a three pointer to take a 18-13 lead with 5:43 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were able to cut their deficit to three points after Tim Hardaway Jr made a smooth (behind-the-back) layup to come within 20-17 of the Pelicans that forced the Pelicans to call a timeout with 3:39 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were playing better than you probably thought they would, despite being extremely shorthanded, the Mavericks were able to generate some good quality offense to have a chance at escaping this one with a win. Coming out of the timeout, the Pelicans turned to Willy Hernangomez as he was able to convert on a floating jump shot to extend their lead to 22-17 with 3:20 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Pelicans were able to maintain onto their lead as they took a 35-20 lead into the second quarter. The game leading scorer after one quarter of play would belong to Nickeil Alexander-Walker as he scored 11 points for the Pelicans. The Mavericks were led by Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr as they both scored 5 points. Despite being extremely shorthanded, the Mavericks finished the quarter shooting 39.1% on 9-of-23 shooting from the field.

The second quarter would begin by having Tim Hardaway Jr nail a three pointer for the Mavericks to get this quarter underway. The Pelicans wouldn’t get their first points in the quarter until the 11:28 mark as Kira Lewis Jr nailed a layup to extend their lead to 37-23. The Mavericks were able to cut their deficit into single digits after Maxi Kleber drilled a wide open three pointer to come within 37-28 of the Pelicans with 9:38 left in the quarter. However, the Pelicans would quickly extend their lead back to double digits after a three pointer by Eric Bledsoe to extend their lead to 44-30 with 7:27 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were able to generate some stops on defense that resulted in cutting their deficit to single digits (again) after Dorian Finney-Smith nailed a put-back shot to come within 44-37 of the Pelicans that forced the Pelicans to call a timeout with 5:47 left in the quarter. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were able to make up some ground to cut their deficit by getting some stops on defense while getting points off of it. Coming out of the timeout, the Pelicans turned to Brandon Ingram but couldn’t convert as he missed a jump shot that kept the score at 44-37 with 5:36 left in the quarter. SURPRISE! SURPRISE! The Mavericks went on a 11-0 run that cut their deficit to just one point after Tim Hardaway Jr nailed a jump shot to come within 44-43 of the Pelicans as the comeback was almost complete with 3:43 left in the quarter. THE MAVERICKS WOULD HAVE THE LEAD! After Tim Hardaway Jr nailed another jump shot to take a 45-44 lead with 3:02 left in the quarter as the comeback was COMPLETED. WOW! The Mavericks would erase the Pelicans 15-point lead! Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 2:29 left in the quarter with the Mavericks holding a one point lead. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks went on a 15-0 run to completely erase the Pelicans lead and finish the comeback. The Pelicans were struggling shooting the ball as their last made basket came at the 7:27 mark in the quarter. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Tim Hardaway Jr as he was able to draw a foul to go to the free-throw line, where he would make both free-throws to extend their lead to 47-44 with 2:18 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, nobody could build a lead as the game would be tied at 53-53 with this game going into halftime. The game leading scorer after two quarters of play would belong to Tim Hardaway Jr as he scored 21 points off the bench for the Mavericks. The Pelicans were led by Zion Williamson as he scored 15 points. This was a much needed quarter the Mavericks had to have in order to stay in the game and they got it as they out-scored the Pelicans 33-18 in the quarter. The Mavericks finished the first half shooting 46.7% on 21-of-45 shooting from the field. This was a disastrous quarter for the Pelicans as they had a 15-point lead and blew it while loosing the momentum in the process. The Mavericks had no business being in the game without BOTH of their superstars but will take it any time of the day. Somebody would need to help Tim Hardaway Jr in the second half as he could not be the only one producing if the Mavericks want to escape with a win.

Coming out of the half, the Mavericks were able to get on the board first in the third quarter by having a Boban Marjanovic slam dunk to make it 55-53. The Mavericks would extend their lead to four points after Jalen Brunson nailed a floating jump shot to extend their lead to 57-53 with 10:48 left in the quarter. The Mavericks offense was clicking as they were able to generate a eight point lead after Maxi Kleber drilled a three pointer that forced the Pelicans to call a timeout with 8:42 left in the quarter with the Mavericks were holding a 61-53 lead. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were able to generate a 8-0 run to begin the quarter while the Pelicans were still looking for their first made basket in the quarter as they missed all of their five attempts taken thus far. Coming out of the timeout, the Pelicans finally got their first points in the quarter by having Eric Bledsoe make a jump shot with 8:28 left in the quarter as they still trailed 61-55. The Pelicans were able to come within four points of the Mavericks after having Steven Adams nail a floating jump shot to come within 63-59 of the Mavericks with 7:23 left in the quarter. The Mavericks couldn’t extend their lead that allowed the Pelicans to cut their deficit to one point after Brandon Ingram nailed a driving layup to come within 68-67 of the Mavericks with 4:53 left in the quarter. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 4:05 left in the quarter after seeing the Mavericks lead evaporate by having the Pelicans taking a 70-68 lead. Prior to this timeout, the Pelicans were able to generate a 11-3 run to take the lead away from the Mavericks. The Mavericks offense had gone quiet as their last made basket came at the 8:44 mark in the quarter. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Tim Hardaway Jr as he was able to convert on a slam dunk to tie the game at 70-70 with 3:50 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Pelicans were able to take a 80-78 lead into the fourth quarter. The game leading scorer after three quarters of play would belong to Tim Hardaway Jr as he scored 27 points off the bench for the Mavericks. The Pelicans were led by Zion Williamson as he scored 25 points. The Mavericks had another solid quarter that has kept them in the game by getting some solid possessions on offense. Through three quarters of play, the Mavericks were shooting 43.8% on 28-of-64 shooting from the field. The Mavericks would need to play good defense for 12 more minutes to see if they can escape with a win.

The fourth quarter would begin by having Nickeil Alexander-Walker drill a three pointer for the Pelicans to get this quarter underway. The Pelicans would generate enough offense to build a six point lead after Zion Williamson nailed a free-throw to take a 84-78 lead with 10:06 left in the game. The Mavericks weren’t able to get their first points in the quarter until the 9:49 mark by having Jalen Brunson nail a free-throw to come within 84-79 of the Pelicans. With the Mavericks seeking their first made basket in the quarter, the Pelicans took that opportunity to extend their lead to 87-79 on a free-throw by Willy Hernangomez with 8:55 left in the game. The first made basket finally came for the Mavericks as Tim Hardaway Jr drilled a three pointer to come within 87-82 of the Pelicans with 8:40 left in the game. The Mavericks quickly cut their deficit to two points after Trey Burke nailed a driving layup to come within 91-89 of the Pelicans that forced the Pelicans to call a timeout with 6:45 left in the game. This game would be looking like it would come down to the final possession as it got interesting the more time goes by. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were able to generate a 10-4 run that was huge as it allowed them to cut their deficit to just two points. Coming out of the timeout, the Pelicans turned to Brandon Ingram but couldn’t convert as he missed a jump shot that kept the score at 91-89 with 6:27 left in the game. THE GAME WOULD BE TIED! After Boban Marjanovic nailed a 7-foot shot to tie the game at 91-91 with 6:03 left in the game. The Mavericks would soon have the lead after Trey Burke nailed two free-throws to take a 93-91 lead with 5:25 left in the game. THE MAVERICKS WERE JUST 5:00 MINUTES AWAY FROM A VICTORY! All they needed was to generate a couple of stops on defense for the rest of the way to get the victory. The Pelicans would cut their deficit to one point after a free-throw by Eric Bledsoe to come within 93-92 of the Mavericks with 4:54 left in the game. AN EMPHATIC DUNK BY BOBAN MARJANOVIC WOULD RECLAIM THE MAVERICKS LEAD TO 95-94 WITH 3:59 LEFT IN THE GAME. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 3:42 left in the game as he wanted to give the Mavericks some rest so they could finish the rest of the game strong as they currently hold a one point lead. Prior to this timeout, the Pelicans were on a “mini” 3-2 run to come within one point of the Mavericks. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks fouled Zion Williamson to send him to the free-throw line, where he would make both free-throws to take a 96-95 lead with 3:39 left in the game. Rick Carlisle would call another timeout with 3:13 left in the game as he saw the Pelicans extend their lead to 98-95. Prior to this timeout, the Pelicans got four quick points on offense to make it a three point game. The Mavericks offense was silent as they couldn’t get anything going. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks were called for an offensive foul on Maxi Kleber that resulted in the points on the other end as the Pelicans extended their lead to 100-95 with 2:47 left in the game. Rick Carlisle would called another timeout after a gut wrenching three pointer by Nickeil Alexander-Walker to extend the Pelicans lead to 103-95 with 2:17 left in the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Maxi Kleber as he was able to convert on a three pointer to come within 103-98 with 2:07 left in the game. A breath taking three pointer by Nickeil Alexander-Walker pretty much sealed the deal for the Pelicans as he extended their lead to 110-100 with 1:04 left in the game.

This team looked looked like they were going to be blown out by the Pelicans until the Pelicans do what the Pelicans have done this season and that was blowing leads as they blew a 15-point lead in the first half that resulted in the game being tied 53-53 at halftime. This was a game the Mavericks had no business being in as they were extremely shorthanded without BOTH of their superstars. Give the Mavericks some credit as they battled so hard throughout this game despite being shorthanded.

In the end, it was the New Orleans Pelicans defeating the shorthanded Dallas Mavericks 112-103. The Mavericks record would drop to 23-21 on the season as they are now dealing with a losing streak of two game. As shorthanded the Mavericks have been this season, they relied on Tim Hardaway Jr as he posted 30 points and 5 rebounds off the bench in the close loss on the second night of a back-to-back. The Pelicans were led by Zion Williamson as he finished with 38 points and 5 rebounds. The Mavericks also had a big game from Jalen Brunson as he finished with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field but it wasn’t enough for a win. The Mavericks gave everything they could despite being shorthanded as they finished the game shooting 44.6% on 37-of-83 shooting from the field. The Mavericks just couldn’t get the necessary stops on defense in the final minutes of the game that eventually costed them the victory. With the loss, the Mavericks were back to the eight seed as the lost costed them a spot in the western conference standings.

The Mavericks will get some rest and will travel to Oklahoma to play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. This will be game two of their five game road trip as the Mavericks continue to be away from home,

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