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'My Energy Was Down': Luka Doncic Takes Blame for Dallas Mavs' Loss to Pels

The Dallas Mavericks fall to the underdog New Orleans Pelicans 107-91.

The time is now. 

Losing to subpar teams is destined to hurt a team down the stretch in the air-tight Western Conference standings. Only two games separate the playoff-hopeful franchises between the fourth and 10th seed. 

And the Dallas Mavericks just lost to a subpar team.

Friday night's opponent stands outside the playoff picture. ... as in a rematch from Wednesday night's blowout victory, the injury-plagued New Orleans Pelicans faced the Luka Doncic-led Mavs at the AAC and the Mavericks' historically-efficient scoring performance from the last game didn't carry over, Dallas falling to the underdog Pelicans 107-91.

Coming off an incredible 68.7-percent shooting performance, naturally, you'd expect Dallas to come down to earth. But the Mavs just lost to a team that now, with the win, sports a 6-18 record. As our columnist Richie Whitt writes, the Mavs are "two-faced.''

Not only did the Mavericks' shooting fall, but the turnovers produced in the first quarter set an unfortunate tone. Early on, the Mavericks committed eight turnovers, with Luka Doncic coughing up the ball six times ... all on the way to Dallas committing 15 turnovers.

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"That game is on me," Doncic said. "My energy was down."

The Mavericks were up 48-44 at halftime, but the Pelicans went on a 9-0 run starting the second half, with the key guy being Brandon Ingram, who put up his best game of the season with 24 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds, two steals and 9-of-11 shooting for the Pelicans, who in fairness are 6-6 in their last 12 games.

The Pelicans are doing it without the injured Zion Williamson, just as here, Dallas needed an extra spark with Kristaps Porzingis out due to a knee contusion. But as is too often the case, changing the starting lineup (Maxi Kleber in for coach Jason Kidd's club) didn't work, and the only Mav capable of doing real "sparking'' on a consistent basis is Doncic, who here struggled with turnovers (seven) and 3-point shooting (0 of 6) on his way to finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. 

"This is a different game," Kidd said in explaining how Dallas could beat the Pels as it did one night and then do this the next. "We have to understand that. We have to be grownups about that.”

Dallas, which dropped to 11-10,  has a shot to get the bad taste out of its mouth Saturday evening vs. the Memphis Grizzlies. Yes, the second night of a back-to-back, meaning "now'' is coming fast. And so, maybe, it the time for Dallas to examine real trade-minded changes in its approach toward being serious about involvement in those air-tight NBA standings.

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