The Dallas Mavericks Look to End the Pelicans Win Streak
By Sean Bush
The Dallas Mavericks will do their best to cool off the red-hot New Orleans Pelicans when they meet in Dallas Sunday night.
Coming off of a loss where they fell apart down the stretch against Chicago, the Dallas Mavericks will need to play the game with more control to have a chance to beat the streaking Pelicans.
The Mavericks have committed an average of 16.5 turnovers over their last two games (both losses), a mark considerably higher than their season mark of only 11.9 per game. What’s worse is they allowed 47 points off the turnovers over those two games. It’s hard to win games when you’re giving the other team so many extra, typically easy opportunities.
Luckily for the Mavericks, their two leading scorers are coming off of efficient nights scoring the basketball.
Harrison Barnes has played phenomenally over his last three contests. Posting averages of 24.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 2.7 APG all while shooting 48% from the field.
Dennis Smith Jr. on the other hand was desperate in need of a bounce-back performance after hitting a bit of a rookie wall over the last 10 or so games. Junior produced 25 points, made 9 of his 17 shots, and committed only 1 turnover against Chicago. That marked his second highest scoring outing of his rookie season.
On the other side of things, the Pelicans have found a way to win 7 straight games despite losing star big man DeMarcus Cousins for the season to injury. Anthony Davis is making a strong push for the MVP award during this win streak averaging an absurd 39.3 PPG, 15 RPG, 2.9 STL, and 2.7 BLK on 53.5/39.1/84.0 shooting clips.
Clearly the Mavericks big men will have their hands full attempting to slow down “The Brow”.
A win tonight would be especially important to the Pelicans (5th) because they are only 1.0 game out of the 3 seed and 2.0 games out of missing the playoffs in the jam-packed Western Conference playoff picture.
Despite Carlisle and Co. wanting to pick up a win at home tonight, a loss would still come with a silver lining. The Mavericks are right in the thick of what is essentially a race to the bottom to secure the best odds at a top pick in this upcoming draft.
The Mavericks are currently tied with the Atlanta Hawks and the Sacramento Kings for the 3rd worst record in the NBA. They sit a mere half of a game back from owning the worst record, and therefore the best lottery odds, in the 2018 NBA draft. Conversely, they only trail (lead?) the 7th-to-last Orlando Magic by 1 game and the 8th-to-last Chicago Bulls by 2.5 games.
It appears the 2018 NBA Draft has a strong chance of featuring multiple future all-stars and possibly even some transcendent talent so a shaky ending to the season for the Dallas Mavericks would not be the worst thing in the world.
Next: Former Mavericks Assistants are Experiencing Success as Head Coaches this Season
The Pelicans vs. Mavericks will start tonight at 6:00 central time. Will the Mavericks bring a halt to the Pelicans impressive winning streak? Or will Anthony Davis continue his tear and hand the Mavericks their 3rd straight loss? Tune in tonight to see if Barnes, Junior, Dirk, and Carlisle can get it done for the boys in blue!