Brandon Ingram looks up the floor vs. Dallas

Panzura postgame wrap: Pelicans 107, Mavericks 91

Pelicans (7-18), Mavericks (11-10)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

NBA teams must be resilient over the course of the long 82-game regular season, bouncing back from bad nights and tough losses. Sometimes they also need to do the same within a game.

New Orleans shook off an ugly offensive start Friday and a one-sided home loss to Dallas two nights earlier, beating the same Mavericks on their home floor behind a second-half surge. The Pelicans began Friday’s game shooting just 2/20 from the field, as well as 2/14 in the paint, but kept battling and seized momentum with a 35-20 third-quarter edge.

New Orleans outscored Dallas 63-43 in the second half, after trailing 19-14 through a quarter and 48-44 at halftime.

“It was the defense and the pace we played with offensively,” Pelicans spot starter Garrett Temple said of what caused the in-game turnaround. “We missed shots we normally make in the first quarter. We made them in the third. Defensively we turned it up even more in the third. We were able to get some easy baskets, which was great for us."

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Brandon Ingram sank a three-pointer from the right corner, giving New Orleans a 97-81 lead with 4:47 remaining. On a subsequent possession, Ingram spun adeptly around Dallas forward Maxi Kleber to draw a foul, sinking a pair of free throws for another 16-point edge at 4:05.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Ingram produced his best all-around game of this season and one of his finest since joining the Pelicans two summers ago. He didn’t have a great shooting night against a Dallas defense focused on stopping him, but he nearly notched a triple-double, running the New Orleans attack by dishing out a career-best 12 assists, while also grabbing eight rebounds.

“Brandon is a special player,” Willie Green said of the 2020 All-Star. “He watches a ton of film. His work ethic is off the charts. He’s getting better and better. The beauty of it is he’s just trusting the guys on the floor, and they trust him. He has times when he’s aggressive (scoring and seeking his shot), but if the defense is on him, he’s giving up (the ball).”

BY THE NUMBERS

3: Seasons since New Orleans notched a victory at Dallas. The Pelicans most recently prevailed in Big D on March 18, 2019. Friday ended a five-game losing skid at American Airlines Center.

30: New Orleans assists. The Pelicans had better ball movement than the Mavericks, one factor behind the visitors pulling away in the second half.

3-1: Pelicans road record since starting the season 1-9 in away games. Over the past week, they’ve beaten Utah, the Clippers and Dallas in those teams’ arenas, with the latter two coming by a decisive margin.

REVISITING FANDUEL KEYS TO THE GAME

BETTER START

The New Orleans defense sliced 22 points off what Dallas scored two nights earlier in the first quarter (41), but the offense went through an epic struggle. The net total was a five-point deficit, a major improvement from Wednesday, but still not great.

THREE-POINT DEFENSE

After Dallas climbed over 50 percent on threes in the Smoothie King Center, the Mavericks shot just 10/34, which is 29 percent.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

It was no surprise after Ingram carried New Orleans with 29 points Wednesday that Dallas devoted a ton of attention to trying to stop him from scoring. Ingram responded by establishing a career high in assists.

#FANFRIDAY

There has been so much to like about Jonas Valanciunas’ first month-plus with the Pelicans, particularly with him pulling off the rarity of ranking in the NBA’s top five in both rebounding average and three-point shooting percentage. In Friday’s Twitter poll, Pelicans fans voted for the center’s three-point prowess as their favorite aspect of his start to 2021-22, with 51 percent of ballots. That was followed closely by Valanciunas’ consistency (48 percent), highlighted by 17 double-doubles entering Friday’s action.

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