After the first week of the NBA season, it looked as if the Pelicans were going to be one of the worst performing teams in the league. Anthony Davis was putting up monster numbers, but unfortunately the talent surrounding him was less than ideal. Fast forward to today, and they’ve won five of the last seven and are boasting top 10 defense and offense numbers.
The Mavs are still performing pretty horridly. Cuban and Co. have always been up front about the Mavs’ lack of desire to tank, however this team might just be bad enough to not technically have to even try. This game might be one of the more winnable ones for the season, and here's a few ways that the Mavericks could steal their third win.
Anthony Davis is gonna score his 40. Let him.
Look, hear me out here. AD is currently leading the league in scoring with 31.3 points per game. Based on how bad the Mavs have been, I can see this average being given a nice little bump.
However, if the focus is put on the rest of the team and the Mavs can limit the opportunities that the other starters get, perhaps we will see what the early season Pelicans looked like when Davis was the only one contributing to the team significantly.
Slow down their bench.
This matchup will likely come down to whose bench performs better. The Pelicans currently hold a top-five spot in the league for bench scoring, while the Mavs are just sitting outside the top 10 for bench defense.
The Mavericks second squad must hold their own and provide decent scoring contributions to help out the starters who have struggled to score.
Dirk goes off!
We are yet to see one of "those" games from the big German due to his lingering Achilles injury. With Harrison Barnes showing us his ability to score, a one-two punch of Barnes and Nowitzki could give the Pelicans grief.
The Mavs’ lack of scoring ability has let teams focus on Barnes more and more. Although he has handled those defensive looks from teams pretty well, if Dirk really gets going, the Pelicans will have a lot of trouble handling both of them.
How to watch
Tonight’s game tips off at 6:00pm Central and can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest or on NBA League Pass outside of the Dallas area.