What the “A” team couldn’t do Saturday night in Dallas, the “B” team did Wednesday night in New Orleans.
After the Pelicans waltzed into Dallas on Saturday and defeated the Mavericks 105-98, the Mavs showed some moves of their own Wednesday and returned the favor by beating New Orleans 100-91.
The victory was of the stunning variety because Dallas starters Dirk Nowitzki, Zaza Pachulia, Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams sat out after each played 40-plus minutes in Tuesday’s double-overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings.
But that didn’t seem to faze the Mavs (21-15), who kept the game at their deliberate pace while playing a series of unusual lineups.
“Nights like tonight, you never like sitting down four starters, but we did feel it was necessary,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We also felt that we had enough to win the game if we played the right way.”
The “right way” included putting the ball in the hands of playmakers Raymond Felton, Chandler Parsons, J.J. Barea and Devin Harris, and sitting back and watch them work their magic.
The game’s biggest Houdini trick occurred when Parsons inbounded to Felton with one second remaining on the 24-second shot clock. Felton grabbed the ball and fired in a 3-pointer that put the Mavs ahead 94-85 with 41.5 seconds to go.
“I kind of left him hanging there with one second on the shot clock trying to get it to him,” Parsons said. “But he kind of bailed me back out there with that last shot at the end of the shot clock, so that was huge and that was pretty much the dagger that ended the game.”
Felton said he knew he had to get rid of the ball quickly because the shot clock was about to expire.
“It was a play Coach drew up for me, and I was just trying to make sure I got a good look at it,” he said. “Once I got a good look at it, the rest is history.”
This was a game that featured several Mavericks taking advantage of opportunities and standing tall against the Pelicans (11-23).
Felton had 22 points and six assists to lead the Mavs, Parsons had his best game in recent memory with 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Harris collected 10 points and six assists.
The Mavs also got eight points, six rebounds and four blocks from JaVale McGee, 11 points from Barea and 13 points and 10 boards from Dwight Powell.
“We started the game and hung in there,” Barea said. “They made a run and we stuck in there. It showed a lot about our team — how we stuck together.”
No one really gave the Mavs a chance in this game, especially since they entered Wednesday 1-2 against the Pelicans this season.
But the Mavs started Charlie Villanueva, Parsons, Barea, Felton and McGee, and never thought twice about how they were supposedly handicapped without four starters.
Parsons scored six of his points in the first quarter, which concluded with the Mavs trailing 24-22.
The Mavs were behind 50-49 at halftime, but made their move and led 71-67 heading into the final period.
“We just fought our way to a win, and we had some lineups that, quite frankly, haven’t played much together,” Carlisle said. “You’ve got [Jeremy] Evans out there and Powell out there together, [rookie Justin] Anderson and two other little guys.
“We’ve never played that lineup all year. But those guys fought their butts off and we earned an important win.”
Mavericks at Bucks
7 p.m. Friday, FSSW