Thursday, November 30, 2023
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NBA Preview: Dallas Mavericks (8-2) at New Orleans Pelicans (4-6)

The Dallas Mavericks’ past two games have been their highest-scoring performances of the young season.

Dallas will try to keep the points coming when it visits the struggling New Orleans Pelicans for an in-season tournament game on Tuesday night.

The Mavericks rolled past the Pelicans 136-124 on Sunday night at New Orleans. Their point total was second to a 144-126 home victory against the Los Angeles Clippers two nights earlier.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have led the way, as Doncic has averaged 37 points and Irving has averaged 31 in the past two games.

The Mavericks had just six turnovers against the Pelicans, leading to six points, and scored 22 points off 18 New Orleans turnovers.

Dallas is 1-1 and New Orleans is 0-1 in West Group B in the in-season tournament.

The Pelicans, who have lost five consecutive games overall after a 4-1 start to the season, gave up their most points this season in the loss to the Mavericks, who made 20 3-pointers. Dallas also had a 30-13 edge in fastbreak points.

New Orleans is missing two starters — CJ McCollum (lung) and Herbert Jones (bruised fibula) — but the three healthy starters all shot better than 50 percent against Dallas — Brandon Ingram (9 of 17), Zion Williamson (7 of 11) and Jonas Valanciunas (6 of 11).

But they couldn’t overcome defensive lapses that helped the Mavericks lead by as many as 25 points before both benches took over in the fourth quarter. Dallas led by as much as 29 in the fourth.

Forward Naji Marshall, one of the team’s better defensive players, made his season debut on Sunday after being sidelined by a knee contusion.

The Pelicans have allowed an average of 123.8 points during their losing streak after allowing an average of 108.6 during the first five games.

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