Pelicans.com postgame: Mavericks 100, Pelicans 97
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
New Orleans Pelicans Coach Monty Williams often talks about how difficult it is for an NBA team to win a single regular season game. In Wednesday’s Southwest Division matchup vs. Dallas, the Pelicans did many things right, with numerous individual players coming up with big performances, but it still wasn’t quite enough to prevail.
In a game that featured 19 ties and 10 lead changes, Dallas (12-8) held on for a narrow victory after Ryan Anderson’s three-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim. New Orleans (9-9) saw its three-game winning streak come to an end.
Playing the second full game without star second-year power forward Anthony Davis (broken left hand), the Pelicans were spearheaded by a monster 16-point, 20-rebound game from Al-Farouq Aminu. Aminu, who pulled down the same 20 rebounds the last time these two clubs met in April, again used his athleticism to terrorize the Mavericks on the backboards. Jrue Holiday also had one of his best performances with New Orleans, an all-around showing that consisted of a season-best 26 points and nine assists. Holiday kept the Pelicans in the hunt late with 10 fourth-quarter points, including a pair of clutch three-pointers. The other three members of the team’s starting group all reached double figures in scoring (Anderson’s double-double included 18 points and 14 rebounds).
Anderson’s elevation to the starting five was a result of Davis’ injury, however, meaning the normally productive New Orleans bench will be without a key component until Davis returns in four to six weeks. On Wednesday, the Pelicans’ reserves combined to shoot just 2-for-17 and tally only 10 points.
“Our bench didn’t give us what we typically need to get from them,” Williams said. “A lot of that’s because Ryan is in the starting lineup, and that offsets it a bit. We made a lot of mistakes that we know we can correct.”
Prior to Wednesday, New Orleans had also been one of the NBA’s most careful teams with the ball, averaging the third-fewest turnovers per game (13.5). The Pelicans committed 16 against the Mavericks, though, doubling Dallas’ eight miscues.
“We haven’t been in that (16) range in a while,” Williams said. “We’ve been around 11 or 12.”
The Pelicans began the game aggressively, scoring nearly all of their early baskets in the paint, but appeared to settle more for jumpers as the game progressed. That combination proved costly, because two days after a triple-overtime game at Chicago, New Orleans went cold from the perimeter, at 7-for-22 on three-pointers.
“I didn’t think we attacked enough with force,” Williams said.
The Pelicans dropped to 1-1 without Davis and will continue a very challenging stretch of the schedule Friday vs. Oklahoma City. New Orleans will have a chance to move back over .500, prior to a rare four-day break between games. Detroit visits New Orleans next Wednesday.
“I don’t want to take away any credit from the Mavericks because they played tough, but coming off the road we were just (a little rough),” Aminu said. “We are going to go in the lab, fix some of the things we need to, and get back to what we need to do.”