Nowitzki leads Mavs past Pelicans
Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points, Monta Ellis added 23 and the Dallas Mavericks sent the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans to their fourth straight loss, 107-90 on Friday night.
Vince Carter added 14 points and Jae Crowder 12 for Dallas, which never trailed. The Mavericks led by as many as 23 points in the third quarter before cruising against a Pelicans squad minus starting point guard Jrue Holiday and leading scorer Ryan Anderson.
Holiday missed his first game with a stress fracture in his right shin. Anderson went down last week with a herniated disk.
Eric Gordon scored 27 points for New Orleans, while Anthony Davis added 21 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots.
That wasn’t nearly enough to keep pace with the Mavs, who hit 14 of 28 3-point shots and shot 52.6 percent (41 of 78) overall.
Dallas broke open the game with a 27-6 run that spanned from late in the second quarter until Brandan Wright’s layup made it 76-53 with 3:35 to go in the third quarter. Nowitzki scored nine of his points during the run, including one of his four 3-pointers.
Brian Roberts started in place of Holiday, but was limited by early foul trouble and finished with nine points. Austin Rivers had 12 points. But the Pelicans turned the ball over 18 times, setting up 25 Dallas points. Meanwhile, Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans sat out the second half with a sore left ankle after missing his only two shots and turning over the ball twice in the first half.
The Pelicans struggled to keep pace with Dallas from the outset, and the Mavs led by as many as 12 in the second quarter when Samuel Dalembert’s dunk made it 40-28.
It might have been worse if not for Gordon’s 14 points in the first quarter, and 19 in the opening half. Gordon’s 3 and driving floater on successive possessions capped a 10-0 run that pulled New Orleans to 40-38. The Pelicans were still as close as 49-47 with 3:16 left in the period, but with Nowitzki and Dalembert returning to finish the quarter, Dallas pulled away again.
Nowitzki had 14 of his points in the opening half, and his 18-foot jumper ignited a 13-2 run to close second quarter. During the spurt, Ellis twice converted layups set up by New Orleans turnovers, giving Dallas 19 points off of 11 first-half turnovers. Jose Calderon and Ellis both added 3s as Dallas took a 62-49 lead into halftime.
NOTES: The teams play each other again Saturday night in Dallas. … The Mavs’ 62 points at halftime were the most allowed in a first half by New Orleans this season. … In the past 10 days, New Orleans has allowed 60-point first halves three times, giving up 61 to Minnesota on Jan. 1 and 61 to Washington on Jan. 8. … Since Dec. 28, Dallas has eclipsed 60 first-half points five times in its last eight games, with a high of 70 first-half points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 3.