Four-Pointer: Dallas Mavericks travel to play New Orleans Pelicans

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks try to survive without Shawn Marion for a few games.

What's the biggest matchup to watch?

If it was up to me, it'd be to put Bernard James into the starting lineup in an attempt to handle Anthony Davis. Check Mavs Moneyball here in a few hours for my full article, but it seems like Sarge might be the small fix the Mavericks need to eliminate those slow starts that have plagued them of late.

What stat might surprised you about the Hornets?

Anthony Davis is sixth in the league in PER at 26.3 -- even better than Brandan Wright's 24.4 and Dirk Nowitzki's 22.8. Don't like PER? He's first in block percentage (qualifier of playing at least 150 minutes) and sixth in win shares per 48 minutes. Oh, and his best stat? He's 20 years old.

What has New Orleans done lately?

Well, the team hasn't exactly been world beaters sitting at 15-19 and fourth place in the division. The Pelicans have lost nine of their last 13 games, including four of their last five, but that trip included the tough gauntlet of at Minnesota, at Boston, at Indiana and at Miami.

What do the Mavericks need to do to be successful against the Pelicans?

Shawn Marion will be out and the defense probably isn't going to look very pretty. The solution is simple -- run New Orleans and their 28th ranked defense (allowing 106.4 points per 100 possessions) into the ground. The Mavericks don't need perfection, but they need to play pretty damn well on offense to make up for the layup line allowed on the other end. And as long as Monta and Dirk show up, that should be very doable.

Give a click to our friends over at The Bird Writes for more pre-game content.

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