Published: January 10, 2014
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
While I’d like to be able to write a preview detailing how the Pelicans could beat the Mavericks, there was news this morning that Jrue Holiday is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his right tibia. Combine that with Ryan Anderson’s indefinite absence, and you have a team that is definitely bad.
I intended to throw some stats out there talking about the Pelicans offensive and defensive rating, but I sincerely doubt those are relevant without Jrue Holiday playing. The offense is going to change, and with the news that Gordon is on the trading block, it would seem counter-intuitive to do anything but hand the ball to Gordon early and often and see what he can do. That is, unless you’re letting Anthony Davis learn to be a primary scorer.
Keys To Beating the Mavericks Tonight
1) Go under Monta Ellis screens
Ellis appears to finally have turned the corner after his crusade against smart basketball in years prior. The Ellis/Dirk Nowitzki pick and pop can be a thing of beauty. Ellis is fantastic getting to the rim and Nowitzki is a knock-down shooter from everywhere. You can’t stop everything, and the best bet is for our guard to go way under the screen and for the big to stay tied to Dirk. If you switch, the Mavs will just post Dirk up on the mismatch.
2) Create turnovers and get out and run
The Mavericks do a good job protecting the ball, which is good, because Dirk, Jose Calderon, and Samuel Dalembert aren’t chasing down opponents on fast-breaks. They will beat you with good shooting and smart decisions. Their offense is very good overall, and though their defense is bad, the chances of winning a shootout are slim unless the Pelicans can generate some easy looks, and getting some easy points in transition would help that cause.
3) Beat up the Mavericks on the boards
The Mavericks are near the bottom of the league in rebounding, and Shawn Marion’s absence or presence will go a long way tonight, as the Mavericks take a big hit on the boards without him. Dallas chose to substitute sharpshooter Wayne Ellington for Marion the last game he was injured, and if that holds tonight, the Pelicans could have an opportunity to feast on the offensive boards early. The Mavericks only feature two frontcourt plus rebounders in DeJuan Blair and Samuel Dalembert (unless you count Bernard James, who doesn’t play much).