[via NOP]

Pelicans Beat Mavericks With Just Two Starters Available

07:00 January 14, 2024
By: Kaitlin Lowe
This Saturday, the New Orleans Pelicans faced off against the Mavericks on their home court in Dallas. The two teams entered the game with the same record of 23-16, and the outcome would determine their positions in the ranks in the West.

While the Mavericks played without All-Star Luka Doncic, the Pelicans were missing three out of five starters and four of their top five scorers—Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, and Trey Murphy III.

Adding to the Pelicans' pregame struggle, their flight from Denver, following a tough loss the night prior, only landed them in Texas at 5 a.m. Therefore, there were concerns about fatigue affecting their performance.

[via NOP]

Before the game, Coach Green explained that the starting lineup and rotations would feature more of the bench players, expressing his excitement about it.

Coach Green humorously mentioned that the best way to guard Kyrie Irving is to "pray," acknowledging Irving as one of the best finishers who always finds a way to make shots, emphasizing the need to make it tough for him.

The starting lineup included Herb Jones, Naji Marshall, JV, Jordan Hawkins, and Dyson Daniels. The Pelicans started strong, limiting the Mavericks to 20 points in the first quarter, but the narrative shifted in the second quarter with the Pelicans only scoring 20. At halftime, the score favored Dallas at 49-54.

The Pels surged ahead in the third quarter, with many players stepping up to the challenge and scoring 39 points, hitting seven of nine attempted three-pointers. They maintained the lead while fending off Irving and the Mavericks.

Hawkins and JV Bring In A Win

The standout player of the game was undoubtedly rookie Jordan Hawkins, finishing as the top scorer with 34 points, setting a new season and career high. His performance included six three-pointers, just one shy of his career record.

Furthermore, JV, who played 26 minutes the night before, contributed 14-12-7 despite being double-teamed by the Mavericks. JV not only had a great game but also scored his 11,000th career point. When asked about keeping his morale up for every game, JV humorously replied, "If I'm alive and breathing, I'll be playing."

[via NOP]

Hawkins, who began the season with significant minutes, saw his playing time decrease as other players recovered from injuries. He even spent time in the G League for a game. Hawkins said, "I had an opportunity to play, so I had to take it." Reflecting on the experience in the G League, he added, "I think playing in the G League allowed me to regain some confidence and I took that experience with me."

Coach Green praised Hawkins, stating, "He was terrific. We're watching him get better and better before our eyes."

Hawkins, expressing confidence, said, "I wasn't nervous. Without some of our high scorers, I knew the shots would be there, and it was up to me to make them."

JV commented on Hawkins' mentality, stating, "He never gives up. He will be one of the best shooters in the league if he keeps following the path he's on."

[via NOP]

Back to Back with the Mavs!

With this win, the Pelicans surpassed the Mavericks in the Western Conference ranks. The hope is that the Pels will continue to improve their winning record as they return to the Mavericks' court for an afternoon matchup on MLK Day.

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