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Stats Rundown: 4 numbers from Dallas’ 118-108 loss to the Pelicans

Sometimes you play with your food so much, it eats you in the end.

New Orleans Pelicans v Dallas Mavericks
Dyson Daniels #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans defends as Kyrie Irving #11 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots in the first half of an NBA basketball game at American Airlines Center on January 13, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.
Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

On the basketball court if not so much at the dinner table, sometimes you can play with your food so much that it ends up eating you.

The Mavericks (23-17) seemed to watch it happen to them more than they did anything about it Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans (24-16), who got out of the American Airlines Center with a 118-108 win despite a roster decimated by injury and on the second night of a back-to-back stint.

Rookie guard Jordan Hawkins absolutely had his way with a Mavs defense that has found a gift for making superstars out of guys who on any other night would be a third or fourth option offensively. Hawkins scored 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting and 6-of-12 from 3-point territory.

For our first of five sickening stats that tell the tale of this win that got away, let’s stay right there with Hawkins.

6: Jordan Hawkins 3-pointers

Hawkins’ six 3-pointers on 12 attempts against the Mavericks were actually not a season-high. Hawkins hit seven 3-balls against the Nuggets on Nov. 6. He appears a this point to be the best shooter in this year’s rookie class, but in any context, getting worked by a rookie is extremely annoying to watch.

Hawkins also torched the Mavs for 25 points earlier this year, in the Pelicans’ 131-110 win over Dallas on Nov. 14. He went 5-for-12 from 3-point land in that game as well, so it’s not as if Saturday’s performance came out of left field. It’s worth saying that again, another way. In two losses to the Pelicans, the Mavs have sat and watched Hawkins deal death from above in the form of 11 made 3-pointers. Put a hand in the kid’s face, goodness gracious.

This kid can get really hot, and the Mavs are now intimately aware of how game-wrecking Hawkins’ shooting touch can be.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks forward Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) drives to the basket past New Orleans Pelicans forward Herbert Jones (5) during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

“He got going there in the third,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said in his postgame press conference. “We lost him a couple times. He was comfortable tonight. Monday we’ve got to make sure we locate him and make him uncomfortable.”

56-39: New Orleans’ rebounding advantage

You’re familiar with this refrain aren’t you? The Pelicans out-rebounded the Mavericks 56-39 at the AAC, including a 14-9 advantage on the offensive glass.

New Orleans center Jonas Valanciunas was too much for the Mavs to deal with down low, as seven of his game-high 12 rebounds came on the offensive end.

17-3: Mavs’ run to end first half

Dallas was down by nine, 46-37, with less than five minutes to play before halftime and a floundering offense that had forgotten in 48 hours how to hit the broad side of a barn from 3-point range. Irving was 0-of-4 from 3-point territory to that point in the game, but when his jump shot woke up, so did the Mavs’ offense. Irving hit two 3-pointers as part of the Mavericks’ 17-3 run to end the half.

Both Irving’s 3-pointers came on spot-up looks from the corner as he worked without the ball in his hands to find an opening in New Orleans’ defense. Green found him in the corner with 2:25 left in the first half to pull the Mavs to within 46-43, and A.J. Lawson found him open with 2.8 seconds left to give Dallas its 54-49 lead at the break.

12-0: Pelicans’ late third-quarter run

The Mavs were able to stay in front early in the third behind strong shooting performances from Irving and Hardaway, but a 12-0 Pelicans’ run later in the third turned the tables on Dallas.

Backup point guard Jose Alvarado hit two 3-pointers and assisted on two more baskets during the New Orleans run that spanned most of the last four minutes of the third quarter. New Orleans was up 85-77 with 1:32 left in the third after Herb Jones’ runner, and down 88-81 going into the fourth after Jones’ 3-pointer on the Pels’ final possession of the third.

New Orleans shot 7-of-9 from 3-point range in the third. Guard Jordan Hawkins and forward Naji Marshall combined to shoot 4-of-5 from distance in the third.