The Dallas Mavericks couldn’t overcome the absence of Luka Doncic.
The New Orleans Pelicans couldn’t take advantage of a career night from Zion Williamson.
Both teams will try to bounce back when they meet in the second game of back-to-backs Saturday night in New Orleans.
Doncic was sidelined by tightness in his lower back as the Mavericks lost to visiting Indiana 109-94 on Friday. Coach Rick Carlisle said Doncic would travel to New Orleans and was hopeful the All-Star would be available.
“He’s an MVP candidate, so you’re going to miss a guy like that in a lot of ways,” Carlisle said. “But we’ve got enough talent and guys available to win this game. We didn’t execute the way we needed to. We didn’t defend well. We didn’t put defense as a priority in the first half.”
The Pacers made 7-of-14 3-pointers and the Mavericks made 1-of-10 in the second quarter as Indiana built a 61-48 halftime lead.
The lead grew to 17 before Dallas pulled within four points a few times early in the fourth quarter. The Pacers responded with a 14-2 run to take command, 94-82, and they finished with 20 made 3-pointers.
Kristaps Porzingis had 31 points and a season-high 18 rebounds to lead Dallas, and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points.
“I felt like so many little things didn’t go our way,” Porzingis said. “The game was just an uphill battle.”
The Mavericks are beginning a season-high five-game road trip as the Pelicans complete a three-game homestand.
Williamson scored a career-best 39 points, making 16-of-19 shots, and had 10 rebounds and five assists, but his effort wasn’t enough in a 113-108 loss to visiting Denver on Friday.
During the final 6:55 of the game, Williamson scored all eight of the Pelicans’ points. His layup with 2:07 left gave New Orleans a 108-107 lead, but those were his team’s final points.
“I just stayed aggressive and stayed on the attack,” Williamson said. “I got a lot of my shots to fall. But it wasn’t enough.”
Brandon Ingram made just 5-of-17 shots and finished with 13 points after having a season-high 36 in the previous game.
“They put two guys on him all the time and trapped him all night long,” Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Didn’t give him looks. I thought their defense had a great deal to do with it, and I don’t think we were able to get him enough good looks after the first quarter. Early in the game, he got them, and then we weren’t able to get him a lot after that.”
The Pelicans scored just 45 points in the second half and squandered a chance to tie when they committed a shot-clock violation while they were down by three points with 5.1 seconds remaining.
“Offensively, we stopped moving the ball,” said Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who scored 14 points. “That’s really what the thing was. It was more self-inflicted.”
New Orleans led by as many as 14 points and had an 11-point lead with less than seven minutes remaining, but Denver finished with a 24-8 run.
“It’s the NBA of today,” Van Gundy said. “Double figures (for a lead) is nothing.”
–Field Level Media