Actually, I’m Asher Feltman, but that’s a headline you see.
The new-look (for the again’th time) Dallas Mavericks got their first home victory of the season tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans. Dallas moves to 3-3 (1-2 at home) and New Orleans falls to 0-6 (0-3 away). The Pelicans are the last remaining Western Conference winless team, while Brooklyn and Philadelphia (of course) are still searching for a W in the East.
The battered Pelicans were missing Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Omer Asik from their starting unit. Alexis Ajinça, Ish Smith and Luke Babbittstarted in their place. Also out were Quincy Pondexter, Norris Cole and if you want to throw in Kendrick Perkins I suppose I’ll allow it. With so many parts missing, it’s Anthony Davis or bust for the Pellies. Following a career high tying 43 point effort Friday against the Hawks, it wasn’t all things roses for Brow on Saturday night at the American Airlines Center.
It’s weird even to type something like this, but 25 points on 11-19 shooting actually resulted in a pretty pedestrian line for 22-year old unibrow wielder. In my game preview (which you read but if not, here) I highlighted rebounding as the theme of tonight’s Mavs-Pelicans matchup. Because the Mavericks tend to and have allowed big rebound games this home stand to the likes of Luis Scola and Marvin Williams and Anthony Davis is one of the best big men in the league. He was limited to 6 rebounds and one offensively. Ryan Anderson led the Pelicans with nine boards.
The story of this one, at least for me, was Deron Williams. A very, very big factor in the Mavericks chances to make any kind of noise this year is dependent on a Deron Williams Renaissance of sorts. Williams played a team-high 29 and a half minutes for the Mavs, scoring 19 big points for the most of a balanced team attack. He added three big three-pointers. Nothing about his numbers (3 rebounds, 2:2 assist turnover ratio) jump out at all but he LOOKED good.
Looking the part, although just part of said part, is an important thing for these Dallas Mavericks. As they slowly start to get healthy, it’s key for the guys that can go out there and play at 100% or close enough to perform as one of team’s leading men. Tonight, Deron Williams was that. Throw the box score away. In fact, do that for the next game. The box score never tells the whole story, to dig up a time and time again sports cliché.
Zaza Pachulia was a beast on the glass, grabbing 14 rebounds. A missed free throw in the game’s final moments cost him his fourth double-double of the season’s first six contests, but we’ll worry about that in April when he and Andre Drummond are competing for that category’s champion.
Dat Dood, Dirk Nowitzki had 18 and 7, continuing a strong start to season number 18. He had two three-pointers, as did Wesley Matthews. Wessy Wes wasn’t great, and if you ask him, he probably wasn’t even good, but he’s looking healthier and healthier with each game. A key play was in the third quarter with 10:04 remaining. Matthews drove straight into the NBA’s leading shot blocker from a year and scored plus the foul on Anthony Davis to put the Mavs up 79-72.
It’s the little things. Good for Wes, not as good for Chandler Parsons, who is recovering at a slow rate but playing nonetheless. CP25 had 6 points in 15 minutes, but didn’t look very comfortable in this game. The Dwight Powell trade continues to pay great dividends for the Mavericks. Powell set a temporary career-high with 15 points and chipped in another great job on the glass with 7. He’s averaging a clean 8 rebounds per game, with at least 6 in every one so far.
So sure, the numbers favor a lot of players over Deron Williams, but the Mavericks new point guard looked great tonight. He was a leader and a floor general, the stats just don’t tell you that. But like I said, throw away the stats. Mavs win.
Mavericks: Deron Williams, 19
Pelicans: Anthony Davis, 25
Mavericks: Zaza Pachulia, 14
Pelicans: Ryan Anderson, 9
Mavericks: Devin Harris, 6
Pelicans: Ish Smith, 7
Pelicans: Anthony Davis, 2
Mavericks: Deron Williams & Devin Harris, 2
Pelicans: Ish Smith & Toney Douglas, 2
Mavericks: Dwight Powell, +20
Pelicans: Alonzo Gee, +12 (if he gets more minutes it’s because Coach Alvin Gentry read this)
Final: Dallas Mavericks 107 (3-3), New Orleans Pelicans 98 (0-6)
Next Game: Tuesday @ New Orleans, 7:00 PM
Next Home Game: Wednesday vs. Los Angeles Clippers (yeah), 7:00 PM, Nationally Televised on ESPN