The Luka Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks suffered a blowout loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, and things didn't get off to a great start on Saturday night in New Orleans either as they lost 112-103.
Dallas fell into a 35-20 hole after the first quarter.
However, the Mavs, led by the hot shooting of Tim Hardaway Jr., came back in the second quarter to tie the game at 53-all at halftime.
The game stayed tightly-contested throughout, until the final three minutes, as the Mavs ultimately dropped their second-consecutive game to a Pels team powered by Zion Williamson.
“He’s an unusual force and obviously a great player,” said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Zion, who’d scored 39 on Friday against Denver and 38 here. “He was a beast. ... This is a Shaquille O’Neal-type force of nature with a point guard skill set.”
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Meanwhile, Doncic missing his second straight game, and Kristaps Porzingis also sitting out due to load management after playing 38 minutes the night before, Hardaway Jr. led the Mavs in this one with 30 points off the bench to go with five rebounds and three assists.
Jalen Brunson was the Mavs' second leading scorer, finishing with 24 points and four assists. Boban Marjanovic, who started in place of Porzingis, put up 13 points to go with 11 rebounds and three assists.
On a night where the Mavs were severely undermanned, Carlisle opted to play just two players off the bench other than Tim Hardaway Jr. -- Trey Burke and Dwight Powell. Despite having young players like Josh Green and Tyler Bey with fresh legs on the second night of a back-to-back, Carlisle still didn't feel as if this was the right time to give the young guys a chance to make a difference.
The Mavs are now 0-3 this season when both Doncic and Porzingis sit, so it might be time to shake things up the next time both of them are out.
The Mavs will now travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder in the second game of this five-game road trip. Each team has won one game against the other this season, so the winner of Monday night's game will also win the season series. Doncic has yet to suit up against the Thunder so far this season.