Pelicans-Mavericks Preview

The Associated Press

Dirk Nowitzki got a friendly bounce his last time out, helping the Dallas Mavericks extend an offensive surge that has them a season-high 12 games above .500.

If recent meetings are any indication, Dallas may be able to continue its high-scoring ways when it faces the slumping New Orleans Pelicans.

The Mavericks shoot for their 10th win in 12 games overall as they try beat New Orleans for the seventh straight time Wednesday night in Dallas.

Nowitzki totaled 49 points and went 7 for 14 from 3-point range in the Mavs' victories over Philadelphia and Detroit last weekend to open a three-game trip. Though he managed just 15 points while missing all five of his 3s at New York on Monday, his 19-foot jumper bounced around and fell through as time expired to give Dallas (35-23) a 110-108 win.

Nowitzki's shot saved the Mavericks after they blew an eight-point lead in the final 90 seconds.

"That's one thing about the greatest players," coach Rick Carlisle said. "I played with (Larry) Bird for three years. He took more pleasure in hitting a game-winning shot after he missed eight or nine in a row than having a great game at times."

Vince Carter also stepped up by hitting seven 3-pointers - his most since 2007 - on the way to a season-high 23 points. Monta Ellis added 22 and Jose Calderon had 20 points and made five 3s.

The Mavericks, who set season highs with 15 3-pointers and 36 attempts, averaged 115.7 points and 52.6 percent shooting in the three games against struggling opponents.

They're hoping to continue that level of production at home, where they've scored 110.9 per game while reaching 100 points in 10 consecutive contests.

Dallas has been particularly efficient from 3-point range against the Pelicans (23-33), making at least 11 3s while shooting 45.6 percent in its three victories this season.

Nowitzki hit four 3-pointers and finished with 24 points to lead the Mavericks to a 107-90 win in New Orleans on Jan. 10, then made five 3s while scoring a season-high 40 in a 110-107 home victory over the Pelicans the following night.

He also scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and had the last of his season-high four blocks on a crucial possession in the final minute as Dallas pulled out a 100-97 road win in the most recent meeting Dec. 4.

After giving up an average of 95.0 points and 33.3 shooting from 3-point range in their previous four games, the Pelicans allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to make 16 of 28 from beyond the arc in a 123-110 home loss Monday.

Anthony Davis had 26 points and 11 rebounds while Alexis Ajinca set career highs with 19 points and 12 boards. Last-place New Orleans, however, has dropped four in a row and six of seven.

"We played hard, but we just got to do a better job on defense," said Davis, averaging team highs of 20.5 points and 10.2 rebounds.

Davis has totaled 52 points and 22 boards in his last two games. He's also scored a combined 49 while pulling down 27 rebounds in the last two meetings with Dallas after missing the December contest due to a broken hand.

The Mavericks have won 22 of the last 25 home matchups. They haven't swept a season series from the New Orleans franchise since the 2006-07 season.

What to Read Next