Resting 4 starters, Mavs beat Pelicans 100-91
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Dallas coach Rick Carlisle decided he needed to give four starters the night off on the heels of a double-overtime victory a night earlier.
Then Anthony Davis and Co. learned the hard way that hosting the Mavericks' band of backups was no easy task.
Raymond Felton scored 22 points, including a clutch 3 to all but seal it in the final minute, and the Mavericks beat the New Orleans Pelicans 100-91 on Wednesday night.
''What can you say about Felton's shot-making down the stretch; big shot after big shot?'' Carlisle said. ''It's a big win.''
Usual starters Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams, Zaza Pachulia and Wesley Matthews all were rested after each played 40-plus minutes against Sacramento on Tuesday night.
''You never like sitting down four starters, but we did feel it was necessary,'' Carlisle said. ''We also felt we had enough to win the game if we played the right way.''
Chandler Parsons, the only usual starter in uniform, scored 19 of his season-high 21 in the first half. He needed help in the second half and got it. Dwight Powell had 13 points and 10 rebounds while making Davis work hard for his points. J.J. Barea scored 11 and Devin Harris had 10 points.
Davis had 26 points and 12 rebounds, but missed 14 of 25 shots and was limited to eight points in the second half. Tyreke Evans had 16 points and Eric Gordon 14 for New Orleans.
Afterward, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry blasted his team, himself and his staff for their effort.
''It's not fair to the fans. It's not fair to anybody for us to come out and have that kind of effort,'' Gentry said. ''It's just not good. I'm really disappointed. ... We tried time and time again to say that it doesn't matter who is playing and who is not playing. Usually, in these kinds of situations, guys try to step it up anyway because they are trying to earn extra minutes - and we didn't react.''
Dallas' starting lineup consisted of Parsons, Felton, Barea, Charlie Villanueva and JaVale McGee.
New Orleans, which had not played since beating a full Mavericks team in Dallas on Saturday night, led most of the first half, although never by more than seven points.
The Pelicans led by eight on Gordon's 3-pointer with 8:28 left in the third quarter, but then Dallas' scrappy band of backups began to take over.
McGee, who had a pair of alley-oop jams in the second half, ignited an 18-5 run with a put-back dunk. The spurt was capped by Justin Anderson's 3 and Felton's layup, which put Dallas up 71-66.
In the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, Barea added a pair of 3s and Felton another from distance as Dallas built a lead as large as 14.
New Orleans made a last-gasp effort to come back, closing to 89-83 on Jrue Holiday's pull-up jumper with 1:33 to go, but Felton responded with a 22-foot jumper and later added a 3 to all but seal it.
''It's just being a guy who doesn't mind taking a big shot. That guy who doesn't mind putting it on your shoulder and trying to make plays and trying to help the team win,'' Felton said. ''That's the type of guy I am. I'm a competitor. I don't back down from anything.''
After making the playoffs with 45 victories a season ago, the Pelicans are now 11-23 this season.
''It's frustrating for sure, but we're going to figure it out,'' Davis said. ''I know I sound like a broken record, but it's what has to happen. ... It should be fun trying to get out of this. We've got to make sure we stay positive.''
The Pelicans remain just a handful of games out of the final Western Conference playoff spot with 48 to play.
''I know we can do it. We just have to find a way to put some wins together,'' Davis said. ''You don't want to be up-tight about everything or get mad. ... I just try to give out a lot of positive energy and tell guys keep their heads up. A lot of basketball left, but we got to make a run and make it fast.''
Mavericks: Villanueva was making his second start this season and only his third start in five seasons. ... McGee made his first start since the 2013-14 season, finishing with eight points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
Pelicans: Holiday finished with 11 points and Ryan Anderson 10 on 2-of-12 shooting from the field. ... New Orleans was 7 of 30 from 3-point range, with Anderson going 0 for 6.
Mavericks: Visit Milwaukee on Friday night.
Pelicans: Host Indiana on Friday night