Zion Williamson defends against Luka Doncic last season

Top 10 Pelicans Home Games of 2021-22: No. 10 vs. Mavericks

by Jim Eichenhofer

Wednesday, Dec. 1 (7 p.m.)

Why it’s on the list
Due to injury and rest considerations, over the past two seasons, Dallas star guard Luka Doncic and New Orleans star forward Zion Williamson have only competed in the same game twice, with both of those contests taking place in Dallas, meaning Pelicans fans have yet to see them face off in the Smoothie King Center. That odd “streak” is long overdue to end on the first day of December, when the Southwest Division squads play the second of their four annual head-to-head contests. As Twitter user @ZionDunks put it when discussing the intrigue behind Mavericks-Pelicans matchups, “Zion and Luka are two of the most fun players to watch in the league.”

Where it falls on the New Orleans schedule
The Dec. 1 game is the first of consecutive games for New Orleans against Dallas, but unlike the same-location “baseball series” introduced last season by NBA schedulemakers, a Dec. 3 tilt against the Mavericks will be played in Texas. Perhaps a bit surprisingly, none of the four New Orleans-Dallas meetings this season are slated to be televised on national TV.

What’s new in Dallas
The Mavericks added some role-playing help this summer (spot-up sharpshooter Reggie Bullock, reserve guard Sterling Brown, backup big Moses Brown), but the most notable change occurred on the sideline. After 13 seasons as head coach for Dallas, highlighted by winning the 2011 NBA championship, Rick Carlisle departed for the same role in Indiana. Jason Kidd (previously head coach for Brooklyn and Milwaukee) replaces Carlisle, who went 29-21 vs. NOLA during his lengthy Dallas tenure.

#PelicansHomeGamesBracket results
Seeded eighth in Pelicans.com’s 16-team bracket based on their 42-30 record from last season, the Mavericks drew a daunting first-round opponent, falling to the ninth-seeded Lakers (also 42-30 in 2020-21) by a 56 percent-44 percent margin.

Other 2021-22 games between these teams
Wednesday, Nov. 8, New Orleans at Dallas
Friday, Dec. 3, New Orleans at Dallas
Thursday, Feb. 17, Dallas at New Orleans

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