The Mavericks took advantage of a wounded Pelicans with a 102-93 victory. Monta Ellis led the Mavs with 20 points, while Rajon Rondo piped in 19 points of his own.
Rondo started the game with an ambitiousness we've rarely seen from him. After Rondo hit a jumper coming off a curl, the flood gates opened for him. He poured in 13 points in the first quarter on an array of runners and layups from contorted angles; he even hit a 3. Rondo's aggressiveness really opened up the spacing for the Dallas offense. When Rondo enters attack mode, defenders stick closer to Rondo when he's off the ball.
Richard Jefferson provided a steady hand filling in for the injured Chandler Parsons. Jefferson acted decisively and picked his spots wisely en route to a 16 point night. Of course it wouldn't be a proper Richard Jefferson game without one failed dunk.
The Rondo-Monta pairing performed at their ideal level tonight. Rarely have the two played well simultaneously, but tonight the duo gave us a glimpse of the havoc they can cause. Tonight they found a nice balance with the ball handling distribution. Early in the game, Rondo attacked mostly on secondary action, which opened up some driving lanes for him. Once the fourth quarter arrived, Monta became the primary ball handler and filled his usual role as a closer.
Speaking of duos, the Harris-Stoudemire pairing has extinguished the bench's scoring doldrums. Stoudemire continued his excellent play with 14 points coming off the bench. However, Stoudemire's greatest contribution is unlocking Devin Harris. Harris scored 14 points tonight, mostly in the paint. He's at his most effective when paired with a solid pick and roll big as evidenced by this stat from Tim:
Devin Harris since the All Star break: 24 minutes, 11.8 points, 4 assists, 45.5% from the field, 114 off rating, 98 def rating.— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) March 3, 2015
- Alexis Ajinca exacted his revenge by scoring 13 points tonight. The Mavs traded Ajinca in 2011 for a second-round pick and the illustrious Giorgos Printezis.
- Pelicans held scoreless for nearly half the 3rd quarter.
- Mavs improved to 30-0 when leading after three quarters.
- Mavs recorded a season-low seven turnovers.