The New Orleans Pelicans had every excuse to lose their game against the Mavericks, especially with Brandon Ingram sitting out.
However, the Pelicans chose to put their heads down and battle instead of folding, and held as much as a 19-point lead throughout the game. They were led by CJ McCollum, who finished the game with 32 points, five rebounds and five assists while shooting 12 of 22 over all and 6 of 8 from beyond the arc.
McCollum was instrumental in the pivotal fourth quarter, where Dallas started to rain down threes and whittle down the advantage. Whenever they needed him, McCollum was able to make huge buckets, and he scored 17 in the fourth quarter, including making five three-pointers.
The Pelicans, who have seen their season derailed with injuries since the start of the year, desperately needed the victory to stay within the playoff spots.
The Mavericks only saw 28 minutes from Doncic, who is battling a thigh injury. He was still able to produce 15 points, three rebounds and eight assists, but looked clearly bothered on the court as he shot 4 of 14 overall.
That left the heavy lifting solely to Irving in the fourth quarter, and while he was able to make a few tough shots on the way to 27 points, six rebounds and four assists, he wasn’t able to match McCollum’s shot making in the final period.
For now, Pelicans fans will be rejoicing. Mavericks fans, on the other hand, will be hoping that two days’ rest for Doncic will help him get back into top shape as they try to avoid the play-ins.