Davis' monster night leads the Pelicans past the Mavericks

Davis' monster night leads the Pelicans past the Mavericks

Dallas was still as close 106-103 after J.J. Barea's floater with 2:52 to go, but the Pelicans scored the next six points, highlighted Rondo's lob to Davis for an alley-oop dunk.

The Pelicans led by two points at halftime and scored the first five points of the third quarter before the Mavericks made a push. Yogi Ferrell (10.1 points) and J.J. Davis had averaged 28.7 points on 51.7 percent shooting in his previous three games against Dallas this season. He contributed with 21 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks and 2 threes with 0 turnovers in 23 minutes. Dennis Smith Jr. led the Mavericks in scoring against their last opponent, the nets. Noel has been out since November 22 after breaking his thumb and then having surgery to fix a torn ligament in it. Dallas is 26 in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.6 percent as a team. The next two teams are within a game of New Orleans and San Antonio. DeMarcus Cousins (25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists) was terrific playing alongside Davis but is done for the year after rupturing his Achilles on January 26 against Houston.

Combined with another All-NBA performance by Anthony Davis (37 points) and a near triple-double by Rajon Rondo (19 points, nine rebounds, 14 assists), New Orleans picked up a second straight victory on its home floor, moving at least temporarily into at least sixth place in the Western Conference. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Solomon Hill, who was making his first start and second appearance since returning from hamstring surgery in August.

Pelicans: Holiday was sitting out his first game this season. This kicks off a hellacious stretch for the Pelicans, who, for what might be the first time in the National Basketball Association since Washington in February 2016, plays three consecutive nights. New Orleans will also play four games in five nights as a result, something that had been eliminated in the original schedule.

Head coach Alvin Gentry said before the game that he does not expect Holiday's absence to be a long one but the Pelicans will be right back in action Wednesday against the Pacers, followed by the Lakers Thursday.

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