Mavericks keep Pelicans winless with 107-98 win
DALLAS (AP) Dallas' patient approach paid off against short-handed New Orleans. A couple of the Mavericks' biggest stars also played a key role down the stretch.
Deron Williams had 16 of his 19 points in the second half and Dirk Nowitzki scored nine of his 18 in the fourth quarter, leading the Mavericks to a 107-98 victory over the winless Pelicans on Saturday night.
The Mavericks earned their first win at home in three tries. The Pelicans dressed only nine players in their sixth straight loss to begin the season.
Wesley Matthews snapped a 72-all tie with two free throws to key a 7-0 run that he finished with a three-point play. Nowitzki answered a Toney Douglas 3-pointer with one of his own and then dipped underneath Dante Cunningham on a post-up move that put the Mavericks up 84-75.
Williams and Matthews are rounding into form after injuries. Williams sprained his left knee in the season opener and missed the team's next game, while Matthews is still on a minutes restriction while recovering from a torn left Achilles tendon suffered last March.
Williams and Matthews combined for 27 points in the second half.
''We're still trying to figure things out and get healthy,'' Williams said. ''We had a lot of guys who missed a lot of training camp coming off injuries and were on minutes restrictions. We've got to balance all those things and get acclimated. Those things are going to take some time.''
Dallas built its lead to as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter, but the Pelicans closed to 100-94 on Eric Gordon's 3-pointer with 2:04 left. Williams then scored the game's next six points.
Anthony Davis had 25 points for New Orleans, and Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson added 21 apiece.
The Pelicans earned the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs last season and were expected to be one of the West's rising teams this year. They join the Nets and 76ers as the only winless teams in the NBA.
''We didn't play hard enough,'' Davis said. ''We stopped playing defense, and they started playing harder than us. We have to come out and compete to a level where the game's over and we're drained. We're not doing that right now. We've got to find a way to compete for the whole 48 (minutes).''
Second-year center Dwight Powell had a career-high 15 points for Dallas in his third consecutive double-figure game.
''There are no big shocks for me,'' coach Rick Carlisle said of Powell. ''He is a hard-playing guy and he is getting experience and getting better.''
The Pelicans were without Kendrick Perkins (right pectoral), Quincy Pondexter (left knee), Tyreke Evans (right knee), Norris Cole (left ankle sprain), Omer Asik (right calf strain) and Jrue Holiday (right leg). Holiday is being held out of the second night of back-to-back games while he heals.
SCARES FOR DAVIS
With his team already beset by injuries, Davis had two scares of his own in the first half. He appeared to turn his ankle midway through the first quarter when jumping out to block Powell's shot. He limped to the bench during a subsequent timeout but stayed in the game.
Then in the second quarter, he collided with the Mavs' Devin Harris while scrambling for a loose ball and hit the floor hard. Davis stayed in again and said after the game he was fine.
New Orleans' start is its worst since 2004-05 when it lost its first eight games en route to a franchise worst 18-64 record. ... The Mavericks played forward Chandler Parsons only in the first half as he recovers from knee surgery. He scored six points in 15 minutes.
Pelicans: Return home for a rematch with the Mavericks on Tuesday.
Mavericks: Visit New Orleans on Tuesday.