When you are the worst team in the NBA, every game becomes that much more important if you want to save the season before it is too late. That is where the Dallas Mavericks surprisingly stand at the moment. On Sunday night, they picked up a much-needed victory over the New Orleans Pelicans by a score of 91-81, as reported by ESPN.
One of the big reasons why the Dallas Mavericks have been struggling thus far this season is due to the absence of Dirk Nowitzki. He missed the game against the New Orleans Pelicans because of an Achilles strain. Starting in place of Nowitzki was Dorian Finney Smith, who attempted to provide an offensive spark. Unfortunately, though, he was only able to make one of five attempted shots from beyond the three-point line.
Deron Williams was another player that struggled to shoot from the field, missing all but three of his ten attempts. Four of those shots came from the outside, with none of them going in. Williams managed to help put up some points by dishing out four assists. However, he also gave up the ball on the other end of the court five times.
Andrew Bogut received more minutes than normal, and he produced for the Dallas Mavericks by pulling down 14 rebounds and blocking a shot. Bogut only took three shots, so he was not trying to put up a lot of points. Head coach Rick Carlisle seems to be fine with that because he would much rather have his starting center focus on preventing teams from scoring on them.
The offensive workload was left to Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes. The two of them combined for 44 points. Matthews kept the New Orleans Pelicans defense on their toes by hitting six of his eight shots from beyond the arc.
Rick Carlisle utilized Seth Curry, Justin Anderson, and Dwight Powell as his primary backups. All three guys provided some help. Curry and Anderson teamed up for 24 points, which helps to make up for the absence of Dirk Nowitzki. Powell played good defense, providing five steals and a block.
As expected, Anthony Davis had 36 points and 13 rebounds. Those types of numbers are becoming commonplace for the talented power forward. There have been plenty of discussions about Davis asking for a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans because he is growing tired of losing while putting up huge efforts. A game like the one on Sunday is going to add more fuel to the fire.
Anthony Davis certainly did not get much help from the other four starters. Solomon Hill, Tim Frazier, and Omer Asik combined for just 19 points. Asik only played seven minutes and was removed from the starting lineup in the second half, but the New Orleans Pelicans have statistics that show that Davis plays better without Asik on the floor. E’Twaun Moore missed all four of his shots and provided zero points.
Jrue Holiday provided 17 points off the bench. It looks like he might be headed back into the starting lineup very soon, especially if the current starters are not able to help Anthony Davis on offense. Holiday had taken some time away from the New Orleans Pelicans to tend to his ill wife. Head coach Alvin Gentry has been slowly reintegrating him into the rotation but may be forced to make a change.
Alvin Gentry attempted to find some sort of spark off the bench to make up for the lackluster play of the starters. Aside from Jrue Holiday, he tried out five other players. They were only able to combine for nine points. Rookie guard Buddy Hield continues to see his minutes being increased.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]