Postgame wrap: Mavericks 127, Pelicans 123 (OT)

DALLAS – Dallas and New Orleans almost certainly will not meet each other again in the postseason this spring. On Wednesday, they played a game worthy of the playoffs.

After a second half in which neither team ever established control, Dallas made a few more plays in the final two minutes of overtime, finishing off a 4-0 sweep of the season series over New Orleans. This was by far the most competitive of the four matchups.

Trailing by three points late in regulation, New Orleans swung a pass to Nicolo Melli, who swished a difficult three-pointer from the right corner. Dallas got off a shot before the buzzer by Kristaps Porzingis, but it rimmed out, giving the Pelicans a chance to try to win it in OT.

“Great shot,” Jrue Holiday said of Melli’s clutch three. “Honestly he just let it fly. When it comes down to the end of the game, instincts take over. Just naturally he shot it and it didn’t even touch the rim.”

In OT, New Orleans leading scorer Brandon Ingram fouled out, while Holiday had to be careful, playing with five fouls. Dallas took a lead and sealed the victory in the final minute by connecting on free throws.


Holiday’s desperate deep three-pointer from the right wing misfired, leading to the ball bouncing around for a few seconds before Luka Doncic came away with it and dribbled out the clock.


The shooting improvement from Lonzo Ball keeps reaching new levels. The point guard followed up a 7/10 three-point shooting night vs. Minnesota on Tuesday by going 7/11 from deep, part of his 25 points.

“When I’m open, just shoot it,” said Ball, who tied his career high in three-pointers made twice in a 48-hour span. “That’s all it really comes down to. I’ve been putting the work in, now it’s about translating it to the court. It’s that simple.”


13-4: Dallas advantage in blocked shots. Porzingis and Maxi Kleber each swatted five Pelicans attempts.

6/11: New Orleans from the foul line. Dallas went 17/24.

50: Dallas three-point attempts, among its 94 shots. The Mavericks were 22/50 from the arc; the Pelicans had a roughly average game from distance at 37 percent, but were outshot by their hosts.


Many basketball fans and media members are rooting for New Orleans to reach the playoffs, partly because it would likely set up an exceptionally interesting first-round matchup between the Pelicans and the Lakers. However, the Western Conference postseason promises to be compelling even if New Orleans isn’t able to make up its current deficit in the standings, because there are an array of other teams that are intriguing to watch. Wednesday’s poll question was based on the standings entering the night’s slate of games, asking, “Which current first-round matchup would you most look forward to watching?” with the options being Memphis-Lakers; Houston-Utah; Denver-Oklahoma City; and LA Clippers-Dallas. The last of those four received the lion’s share of the votes (49 percent), with a series featuring stars Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis certain to attract many viewers. The runner-up was a Rockets-Jazz quarterfinal (24 percent) that would include Houston’s microball lineup against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz.