Luka Doncic had his ninth triple-double of the season and the host Dallas Mavericks rode a dominant start to a 127-117 victory over the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.
Doncic had 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his third triple-double in his last six games. Christian Wood scored 28 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. had 18, Jaden Hardy 15 and Spencer Dinwiddie 12 as the Mavericks raced to a 19-point lead at the end of the first quarter and remained in control.
Jonas Valanciunas had 25 points and 10 rebounds, Naji Marshall added a career-high 24, Herbert Jones Jr. scored 16, Jose Alvarado 14 and Kira Lewis Jr. 12 to lead the Pelicans, who played without their top three scorers — Zion Williamson (hamstring), Brandon Ingram (toe) and CJ McCollum (rest) — who average a combined 67 points per game.
The Pelicans trailed by as many as 23 points in the first half, but Alvarado scored six quick points to get them within 14 early in the third quarter.
The Mavericks rebuilt the lead to 18 before Alvarado made a 3-pointer and assisted on a basket by Jones to trim the lead to 78-67.
Dallas took a 97-81 lead into the fourth quarter, and New Orleans got within six points with 32 seconds left but didn’t score again.
The Mavericks took command as the Pelicans struggled through an ice-cold first quarter.
New Orleans made just one field goal over more than five minutes as Dallas expanded its last lead from two points to 12.
The Pelicans made just one field goal in the final four minutes of the period and missed all 11 of their 3-point attempts. The Mavericks opened a 34-15 lead at the end of the quarter as Doncic scored just one fewer point than New Orleans did.
Lewis gave the Pelicans a brief lift early in the second quarter by scoring six points in less than two minutes.
But they didn’t make their first 3-pointer until their 14th attempt, which Marshall made with 4:30 left in the second quarter.
New Orleans crept within 14 points before Doncic made three free throws to give Dallas a 63-46 halftime lead.
–Field Level Media