October 31, 2014

Anthony Davis was criticized by coach Alvin Gentry for "coasting" his last time out for the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Dallas Mavericks probably wish Gentry never voiced that concern.

Davis turned in a huge effort to lead the Pelicans to a victory over the Mavericks that night and these teams will meet again Wednesday night in New Orleans.

New Orleans (11-22) won 105-98 at Dallas on Saturday behind Davis' 31 points and 14 rebounds. He scored 21 points in the second half in a game in which he was targeted for criticism from his coach.

"I don't think I was coasting," a laughing Davis said at Tuesday's practice. "I don't know what I was doing but whatever I was doing obviously it wasn't enough until he got on me."

The Pelicans have the Western Conference's third-worst record, and Gentry said he'll do whatever it takes to motivate his team.

"Every now and then, I think you've got to push these guys to get 'em refocused on playing hard and executing and that's OK," Gentry said.

Davis is tied for second in the NBA with 21 double-doubles along with Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook. After practice Tuesday, he made the short trip to Baton Rouge to watch future NBA star Ben Simmons and LSU win 85-67 over No. 9 Kentucky.

He wasn't the only Pelican with a double-double Saturday. Norris Cole had 16 points and a career-best 12 rebounds for the second of his career while Jrue Holiday scored 20 off the bench as New Orleans took a 2-1 lead in the season series.

While the Pelicans have had three days off since that win, the Mavericks will come to town after a thrilling victory, 117-116 in double overtime over Sacramento on Tuesday. Deron Williams' 3-pointer at the buzzer capped his 25-point effort before he was mobbed by teammates.

''That was definitely my first Mavericks mob scene,'' he said. ''I was at the very bottom of the pile, then all of a sudden it went dark and I couldn't breathe."

Williams had five points and an assist on Dirk Nowitzki's 3-pointer in the Mavs' game-ending 8-0 run. Nowitzki scored 23 and Wesley Matthews added 20 as Dallas (20-15) avoided its second three-game slide.

The Mavericks didn't come out of the game unscathed since starting forward Chandler Parsons left with a right hip injury in the second half. He will be evaluated for Wednesday's opener of a three-game trip.

Dallas is 5-3 when playing the second of back-to-back games.

New Orleans also has an injury concern in starting guard Tyreke Evans, who has been missing from practice after sitting out Saturday due to knee tendinitis. Evans is questionable, although Gentry expects him to play.

"I don't know where it came from but I felt something the last game," said Evans, who last played Thursday.

There's also a chance that Pelicans forward Quincy Pondexter may make his season debut after being out due to offseason knee surgery. He has been upgraded to questionable.

New Orleans is hoping to be back at full strength soon to make a push for a playoff berth.

"We've got to start making a move right now," Gentry said.

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