For one of the rare times during an NBA season, the same team the Dallas Mavericks played Saturday will be the team they’ll play again on Tuesday.
The Mavericks displayed grit while holding on to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 107-98 at American Airlines Center. Both teams then took Sunday off, practiced Monday and will play each other again at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Smoothie King Center.
Playing the same team in consecutive games usually doesn’t happen a lot during the season, so it’s a little different.
Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki
“You just basically went through all their plays, you know their personnel pretty good, so both teams will be ready to play,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “They were here on a back-to-back, so they’ve had two days off as well.
“So they’re going to be a lot more ready to play and fired up and maybe probably have some of their bodies back like [injured guard Jrue] Holiday. Playing the same team in consecutive games usually doesn’t happen a lot during the season, so it’s a little different.”
The Mavericks’ only other back-to-back against the same team occurs March 20 and March 23 when they face Portland.
“It’s going to be a tough game down there,” Nowitzki said. “We always have battles down there, and the more bodies they get back the better they’ll get.”
The Pelicans are the only team in the Western Conference that has not won a game
The Mavericks are 3-3 after rallying from a pair of double-digit home losses to Toronto (102-91) and Charlotte (108-94) to beat the Pelicans. New Orleans, meanwhile, is a dismal 0-6 and the only team in the Western Conference without a victory.
Still, Nowitzki said: “I don’t think we’re sitting here very confident. We shouldn’t be. We lost two home games by a big margin and we got one win, so it was a 1-2 homestand.”
The Mavericks limited Pelicans All-Star forward Anthony Davis to 25 points and six rebounds after he collected a career-high tying 43 points and 10 rebounds during Friday’s home loss to Atlanta.
“As I watched the game there were shots that are not easy shots on the one hand, but on the other hand we’ve got to try to make it more difficult on him,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s a guy that’s going to get pretty substantial numbers, regardless of what you do, just because he’s such a factor and he’s got such length and he just gets his. You just got to make it as hard as possible.”
The Mavericks are not prepared to increase playing time for small forward Chandler Parsons.
In four games after coming off knee surgery, Parsons has played 12, 14, 14 and 15 minutes. The five-year veteran is restricted to playing no more than 15 minutes a game.
“I see steady improvement and rhythm,” Carlisle said. “His feel for the ball is getting better all the time. Hopefully we can increase some of his load as time goes on, but I don’t know that we’re there yet. I think it’s important that we follow the medical protocol call here.”