DALLAS – Richard Jefferson had seen his offensive production slip in recent weeks. So, Monday night he apparently got mad and went out and did something about it.
A 14-year veteran, Jefferson scored 16 points and also grabbed five rebounds to help the Dallas Mavericks to a 102-93 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans before a sellout crowd of 20,367 at American Airlines Center. It’s the most points Jefferson has scored in a game since he also poured in 16 points during a 114-107 loss in Denver way back on Jan. 14.
To see the ball go through the basket Monday while he battled his way out of a shooting slump brought a smile to Jefferson’s face.
"I just have to credit my teammates, really, to tell you the truth,’’ Jefferson said. "I wasn’t too pleased with my performance, especially in the second half.
"I would normally get off to a good start in the first quarter and then kind of miss some shots. I just tried to focus on driving the ball a lot more and letting that open up some shots for me.’’
That strategy worked to near perfection as Jefferson converted 5-of-6 shots, and was 2-of-2 from 3-point range. That also was a bonus for Jefferson, who had made just 2-of-9 shots from 3-point range during the previous two games.
Additionally, this was the first game Jefferson made more than half his shots while attempting at least three field goals since he was 4-of-5 from the floor during a Jan. 31 game in Orlando.
"I think you have to know your scouting report,’’ Jefferson said. "Teams are trying to run me off the (3-point) line, so when I’m looking for threes they’re typically difficult.’’
On Monday, nothing appeared difficult for Jefferson as he broke out of his slump while helping the Mavs improve to 40-22 on the season.