Those wheels that fell off the Dallas Mavericks’ wagon during Wednesday’s 22-point loss in San Antonio apparently got repaired just in time for Friday’s game against New Orleans.
Looking fresh and playing with much more focus and energy, the Mavs plowed over the New Orleans Pelicans 107-90 before 16,533 at the New Orleans Arena.
“It’s definitely a good way to recover,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “We definitely needed to feel better again after really an embarrassing loss [to the Spurs] on the road.
“We started off the game pretty well. We talked about we wanted a good start and really set the tone tonight.”
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The Mavs led wire-to-wire in stretching their record to 21-16, while the Pelicans dropped to 15-20.
Meanwhile, the two teams will meet again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at American Airlines Center in what will be the Mavs’ fourth game in five nights and the opener of a two-game homestand that ends Monday against Orlando.
Nowitzki bounced back from the season-low eight points he scored against the Spurs to tag the Pelicans with 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting in just 28 minutes.
Also, Monta Ellis contributed 23 points and eight assists, Vince Carter scored 14, Jae Crowder had 12, and Jose Calderon added 11 points and six assists.
But the big salvo for the Mavs was punctuated by Samuel Dalembert, who had recently been in the doghouse for being tardy to his second practice of the season.
Dalembert, though, was back in the starting lineup and responded with nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks in only 18 minutes.
“He didn’t play a lot of minutes tonight, but his energy and presence were high level,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He brings our rebounding and our rim protection to another level when he’s rested and energetic and playing like that.”
Dalembert was a bonus in that, playing traffic cop in the middle, he helped the Mavs win the rebounding battle (39-38) for just the second time over the past 13 games.
“Coming back, we’ve been having some terrible games,” Dalembert said. “The energy level wasn’t there and I take it upon myself to, when I do in the games, to bring that energy and try to help the other guys to bring some energy so that we can compete at the level we supposed to compete.”
Unlike against the Spurs when they fizzled early and often, the Mavs were competitive Friday night as they shot 52.6 percent from the field, handed out 32 assists, blocked seven shots and made 14 of 28 baskets from 3-point range.
“This was big for us, for all of us to come in and get the job done and kind of close it out early,’’ said Carter, who made 3 of 5 shots from behind the 3-point line. “That’s something that we haven’t been doing a great job of, so it was just great to see us do so.”
Behind four points from Ellis, the Mavs darted out to an 11-4 lead less than three minutes into the game.
The lead kept swelling until it went to 62-49 at the half and by as many as 23 points (74-51) with 6:18 left in the third period following a 3-pointer by Calderon.
“I thought we were ready tonight; I thought our energy was good most of the night,’’ Carlisle said. “The first three quarters were good quarters, good and solid.
“We had some letups in the fourth. But we needed to get out of here alive with a chance to get back home and get some rest [for tonight].’’