Wenyen Gabriel passes to Kira Lewis Jr. at Dallas

Panzura postgame wrap: Mavericks 125, Pelicans 107

Mavericks (41-29), Pelicans (31-39)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Dwight Powell tossed a low second-quarter bounce pass to Maxi Kleber, but Kleber fumbled it, causing the ball to slip away. No problem. Powell regained the ball, dribbled toward the basket and dropped in a layup for a conventional three-point play. It was that kind of Wednesday night for Dallas, which turned even misplays into buckets while building a 77-58 first-half lead.

En route to a victory that put Dallas in excellent position to earn a top-six Western Conference seed and avoid next week’s play-in round, the Mavericks piled up the points for a second time at home vs. New Orleans in 2020-21. The Pelicans’ defeat mathematically eliminated them from contention for the No. 10 seed and a play-in tournament spot.

“It’s disappointing to be done (after Sunday) and not playing,” Pelicans first-year head coach Stan Van Gundy said, when asked about the overall season outlook. “It’s disappointing to end the year like this, when we thought we had a shot, but then we’re going out (on the court) with five of our top six guys in minutes played not playing. But there are some good things, too. I’ll leave it to (the media) to characterize the season, but I think from the franchise’s point of view, and the fans’ point of view, there should be some things that you’re excited about – I really believe that. With the young guys we have who have shown some good things – every one of them took a jump. All the guys who came back from last year had better years than they had a year ago, so there was growth there.”

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Tim Hardaway Jr. reeled in a long rebound from the top of the arc, then nailed a three-pointer, giving Dallas a 25-point lead with nine-plus minutes remaining in the third quarter. By end of the period, the Mavericks were up 111-80.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

There was no Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram or Steven Adams for New Orleans – also no Lonzo Ball in the starting backcourt – and no Pelicans player was probably overly thrilled by their performance amid the rout. So let’s go with Didi Louzada, who lived out the dream of young hoopers by making his official NBA debut. The native of Brazil entered the game late in the third quarter. Louzada’s initial assignment was also memorable, with him given the task of guarding Luka Doncic. The rookie fared well, getting in the All-Star face a few times and making him work for everything.

BY THE NUMBERS

79-50: Dallas scoring edge in the middle quarters.

15-7: Mavericks advantage in made three-pointers. New Orleans shot just 7/28 (25 percent) from distance.

REVISITING THREE KEYS TO VICTORY PRESENTED BY FANDUEL

BETTER START

The first quarter was pretty solid, with Dallas up only 32-30, but it got out of hand in the second. The Mavericks built a 77-58 halftime edge, meaning the Pelicans have trailed by double digits in all four games of this road trip.

SOPHOMORES SURGING

Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker both had rough nights efficiency-wise, combining to shoot 8/23 from the field, after they were excellent in previous games of this road trip. Hayes did finish with 15 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM EVERYONE

Offensive balance wasn’t really the issue. It was more the part about stopping Dallas at the other end of the floor. The Pelicans were not disruptive in the opening half, getting no blocked shots and forcing only three Mavericks turnovers. The numbers were two and eight in those categories at the final buzzer.

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New Orleans Pelicans guard Didi Louzada postgame interview following the Pelicans game against the Dallas Mavericks (5/12/2021).

2020-21 Game #70: Pelicans at Mavericks

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