Doncic, Mavs overcome slow start, beat Pelicans 108-92
DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 25 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson added 17 apiece and the Dallas Mavericks overcame a sluggish start for a 108-92 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.
Still without Zion Williamson because of a broken right foot, the Pelicans went up 11 in the first quarter but didn’t lead again after the first few minutes of the second quarter in a seventh consecutive loss that dropped them to 1-10.
With Doncic watching to start the fourth, Brunson and Hardaway led a 12-0 run that gave the Mavericks a 93-71 lead. Hardaway was 4 of 5 on 3-pointers as the Mavericks shot better than 50% for a second straight game after starting 2 of 12.
Brunson scored in double figures for a fourth consecutive game, a stretch that included a career high-tying 31 points in a victory at San Antonio that started the current three-game winning streak.
“The confidence is always growing,” Brunson said. “Part of that just comes from my work ethic. That’s where my confidence starts. As long as I keep doing that for my team, my confidence is going to be there.”
Kristaps Porzingis picked up three fouls in just 77 seconds in the second quarter after hitting consecutive 3-pointers late in the first to start a 22-4 run for a 38-31 Dallas lead.
The 7-foot-3 Latvian left with nine points and didn’t score again until a late 3 that helped turn away a New Orleans surge after the game appeared out of reach. Porzingis had 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting and eight rebounds.
Jonas Valanciunas had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Josh Hart scored a season-high 22 for the Pelicans, who were coming off a 41-point loss to Golden State. New Orleans lost by double figures each time on a four-game trip that matched its longest of the season.
Besides Williamson, the Pelicans were without Brandon Ingram and Herbert Jones. Ingram missed his fifth consecutive game with a right hip contusion. Jones was out for a third in a row with left ankle soreness.
“It’s part of what we have to go through as a team,” coach Willie Green said. “No excuses, but we’re not healthy. We’re not whole. We really don’t know what we’re going to look like, but I believe this experience for all these guys is so valuable.”
Pelicans: Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 18 points but was just 2 of 11 from 3. … Devonte Graham had a season-high 10 assists.
Mavericks: F Maxi Kleber missed his fourth straight game with a left oblique muscle strain. … Reggie Bullock scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. … Brunson had six assists to five for Doncic as Dallas finished with a season-high 27.
After New Orleans got even at 61 midway through the third quarter, the Mavericks went on a 29-7 run into the early part of the fourth quarter. Although the Pelicans trimmed their deficit to eight, the outcome was never really in doubt.
Pelicans: Oklahoma City visits Wednesday. The road team has won the past five games in the series.
Mavericks: At Chicago on Wednesday to start a stretch of six out of seven games on the road. The Bulls have a three-game winning streak against the Mavs.
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