New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks Preview and Predictions 03-04-2020

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Young stars Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic are expected to be on the same floor Wednesday when the New Orleans Pelicans visit the Dallas Mavericks. Williamson is averaging 24.2 points through 16 NBA games while Doncic is an All-Star with 21 career triple-doubles as he approaches the latter stages of his second season.

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Williamson recorded 25 points and eight rebounds on Tuesday but the Pelicans played shaky defense while sustaining a 139-134 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. "We're in a situation where we are trying to win basketball games to stay relevant," New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said afterward. "If you want to be a team that is relevant and relevant in the playoffs if we're fortunate to get there, you have to be able to guard. You can't just run up and down and try to outscore everyone and that's what we tried to do." Dallas suffered a disappointing 109-107 road loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday to finish with a split of a four-game road trip. "We just got away from what was working and what we were doing, and eventually they woke up," veteran guard Courtney Lee told reporters. "And then once a team like that gets confidence, they can compete with anybody."

TIME: 9:30 p.m. ET. TV: ESPN, FS New Orleans, FS Southwest, Sportsnet One

ABOUT THE PELICANS (26-35): Williamson had plenty of help on the offensive end against Minnesota as shooting guard Jrue Holiday had 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his first triple-double of the season, point guard Lonzo Ball added 26 points and All-Star small forward Brandon Ingram added 24. But the offensive exploits went for naught and New Orleans fell to four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies, who currently own the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. "Hopefully this is a game that we understand and we learn from because we can't afford not to be locked in and not to be into the ball," Gentry said. "We didn't do a very good job defensively."

ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (37-25): Doncic returned from a one-game absence due to a thumb injury to record 23 points and nine assists against Chicago but he connected on just 1-of-8 3-point attempts. Doncic said afterward that the thumb is improving and he was most disappointed in the fact his last-second, halfcourt heave was narrowly off the mark. Power forward Kristaps Porzingis (knee) is expected back after sitting out Monday and he is averaging 27.3 points over his past 11 appearances.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Mavericks are 3-0 against the Pelicans this season, including a 130-84 home win on Dec. 7.

2. Ball matched his career high of seven 3-pointers against the Timberwolves after being 4-of-19 over the previous four games.

3. Dallas SG Seth Curry (back) could miss his second straight game after averaging 32 points over the previous two contests.

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