Davis, Pelicans hold off Doncic-led Mavs 114-112
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle called it "breathtaking."
Anthony Davis called it just another day at the office, admittedly with a few extra deep breaths.
Davis hit a go-ahead, fall-away jumper with 43.9 seconds left and scored a season-high 48 points to outduel rookie Luka Doncic and lift the New Orleans Pelicans over the Mavericks 114-112 on Friday night.
"It just feels good to get back in the win column," Davis said after playing a season-high 43 minutes, including all 24 in the second half, to carry the Pelicans (16-20) and halt a five-game losing streak.
Davis was fouled on the shot and made the free throw for a two-point lead. Dallas got two more possessions, but Doncic had a layup blocked by Jrue Holiday, Dennis Smith Jr. missed a 3-pointer and the Mavericks couldn't get off a shot on a final possession with four seconds left.
"If he's not the MVP, he's going to be right there," Carlisle said of Davis. "You double-team him and he finds people for open 3s, and then you have a hard time rebounding. The guy is a breathtaking talent. He's a great, great player."
Davis said he was proud of the "hustle play" by guard E'Twaun Moore that led to his go-ahead basket. Moore poked the ball free from Doncic, chased it down to the end line and saved it inbounds to Solomon Hill, who got the ball to Holiday, who finally found Davis on the wing.
"We take a lot of pride in the hustle points," Davis said. "Alvin talks about us getting on the floor for 50-50 balls. Plays like that win you games."
Davis also grabbed 17 rebounds and the Pelicans held a 49-39 edge on the boards. New Orleans dominated in the paint, scoring 70 points, including 22 from Julius Randle.
Doncic scored 34 points and hit 7 of 10 3-pointers, and Harrison Barnes had 21 points.
Dallas set up for its final possession with Smith inbounding the ball. Smith got it back and drove into the lane against Davis, but his scoop shot did not beat the buzzer and fell off the rim anyway.
Trailing 66-55 at the half, New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry lit into his team with what he said was "not a G-rated speech." Over the final 24 minutes, the Pelicans held the Mavericks (16-18) to 46 points on 40.5 percent shooting and forced nine turnovers.
That made up for Dallas' barrage of perimeter shooting. The Mavs outgunned the Pelicans from long range, 15-4.
"It's hard to win a game when you get outscored by 33 from the 3-point line, but the way we played — with 70 points in the paint — that could kind of negate the 3-point thing," Gentry said.
The Mavericks outscored the Pelicans from long range in the first half, cruising to a 66-55 lead by making 10 of 19 3-pointers while holding New Orleans to just 1 of 13 from behind the arc.
Davis kept the Pelicans in the game with 22 first-half points on 9-of-15 shooting. Holiday had 14 first-half points, but seven of the Pelicans' other nine players had two or fewer points.
New Orleans chipped away, outscoring Dallas 31-22 in the third quarter to pull within 88-86.
The Pelicans took their first lead since late in the first quarter on a 3-pointer by Frank Jackson from the right baseline that put them up 99-96 with 7:43 left. J.J. Barea answered with a 3-pointer a few seconds later for Dallas.
Davis made a 15-foot fadeaway over Jordan to tie it at 105 with 3:59 left, and his floating right-hand hook and 18-foot jumper on two of the Pelicans' next three possessions gave New Orleans a 111-109 lead.
Mavericks: Smith returned after missing 11 games with a right wrist sprain. It was his first start since Dec. 13. ... The Mavs are in a stretch in which they will play 14 games in 25 days in four time zones.
Pelicans: New Orleans inserted F Darius Miller into the starting lineup for perimeter shooting help. Miller missed two shots in 10 minutes and have any points. ... In games decided by five or fewer points, the Pelicans have lost seven of their last eight.
Mavericks: Host Oklahoma City on Sunday night.
Pelicans: Host Houston on Saturday night, the second game of a three-game homestand.