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Mavericks vs Pelicans Game Time Preview: Dallas faces a depleted New Orleans team

Southwest rivals face off missing key players, again

Dallas Mavericks v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Mavericks (22-17) host the Pelicans (24-15) in what, on paper, is a key division game between two teams in the top of the Western Conference playoff race. This game should matter to both teams, but as the injury report indicates for the Pelicans, they’ve all but ceded the game before the teams take the court. It’s up to the Mavericks to go out and take care of business and close the gap as they chase the number one seed. Here’s the main details:

The injury report is ridiculous for both teams. Maxi Kleber is still out, though Tim Cato said he was doing some shooting on his own at practice which is interesting to me. Josh Green and Dorian Finney-Smith are also out still, but Jason Kidd noted they’re going on the road trip which could be good. For the Pelicans, they are missing a lot of key and notable players. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are out. C.J. McCollum is resting. Larry Nance Jr. is out with a shoulder issue. Jonas Valanciunas is questionable as of this writing with a hand strain. That’s five guys who’d absolutely see minutes against the Mavericks.

If you missed it, there’s already this game preview written yesterday. There’s also the betting piece, if that’s your thing.

But I found the late scratches of McCollum, Nance, and potentially Jonas very interesting. Division games matter and ceding one to the Mavericks doesn’t make much sense to me. New Orleans is just two games up on Dallas in the standings and with the early season Pelicans win over the Mavericks, they had the lead in the head to head match up. These two teams are projected to finish the season within range of one another, so just giving a game away is a baffling choice.

Of course, the Mavericks need to simply go win the game. That would be great. See everyone after the game with our standard work.