The newest Dallas Maverick, Nerlens Noel, left, poses a defensive challenge to New Orleans Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham. Noel had nine points and 10 rebounds in nearly 30 minutes off the bench. LM Otero AP
The newest Dallas Maverick, Nerlens Noel, left, poses a defensive challenge to New Orleans Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham. Noel had nine points and 10 rebounds in nearly 30 minutes off the bench. LM Otero AP

Dallas Mavericks

Noel, Nowitzki shine as Mavs end three-game skid with win over Pelicans

February 25, 2017 11:19 PM

UPDATED February 25, 2017 11:50 PM

DALLAS

The new kid on the block performed quite well Saturday night. So did the old man on the block.

Not knowing all that much about the Dallas Mavericks’ offensive and defensive attack, Nerlens Noel still made himself right at home Saturday night at American Airlines Center. Acquired in a Thursday trade with Philadelphia, Noel came up one point shy of a double-double as the Mavs used a lot of grit and determination to roll past the New Orleans Pelicans and their new trade acquisition, 96-83.

With the victory, the Mavs (23-35) snapped a three-game losing streak and leap-frogged the Pelicans (23-36) in the Western Conference standings . The Mavs remained three games behind Denver (26-32) for the eighth and final playoff spot out West.

In his debut with the Mavs, Noel played 30 minutes and contributed nine points, 10 rebounds, one steal and one block. His efforts were badly needed by a Mavs squad that was playing the second night of a back-to-back after losing Friday night in Minnesota.

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“It felt great to get a win in my first game in a Maverick uniform,” Noel said. “The guys played great, we got a lot of growth to go.

“I’m just meshing together, but I thought it went great today.”

Noel received a thunderous ovation from the sellout crowd of 20,411 when he entered the game for the first time with 6:57 remaining in the first quarter. The fans also should have – and did – reserve a thunderous ovation for 38-year old Dirk Nowitzki, who brushed off a poor shooting night against the Timberwolves to tally 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting and add nine rebounds against the Pelicans.

Noel didn’t start the game, but at times he and Nowitzki were on the floor at the same time. And that helped give the Mavs some meaningful size against the Pelicans’ two-headed monsters of Anthony Davis and their new arrival, DeMarcus Cousins, who was brought over in a trade with Sacramento last Sunday.

“There was one play we ran where [Noel’s] roll opened up Dirk wide open on the left side,” Carlisle said. “He rolled and Dirk’s guy helped in and they only had one of their big guys in at the time, and so Dirk got a wide open shot and swished it.”

This was a night where Nowitzki swished a lot of shots. Harrison Barnes (19 points), Seth Curry (13 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, three steals) and Wesley Matthews (10 points) also played major roles in nailing down this victory for the Mavs.

In overcoming an early 10-point deficit, the Mavs were leading by seven when Noel flipped in a left-handed shot, raced down the court and grabbed a defensive rebound, was fouled, and then split a pair of free throws to give Dallas an 87-77 lead with 2:29 to go.

Devin Harris scored on a drive and Barnes sealed the game with a 3-pointer for a 92-81 advantage with just 1:13 on the clock. Later, Noel stole a cross-court pass and waltzed in for an uncontested dunk.

Noel was part of a Mavs contingent that swarmed Davis after halftime. Davis tore through the Mavs’ defense for 27 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, but was limited to 12 points and four rebounds after intermission.

“We had to be a little more physical,” Noel said. “Crashing the glass, showing him little different looks that would make him hesitant, and we forced some turnovers on him and Cousins, so a lot of credit to the coaching staff. We’ll keep building on that.”

The Mavs also hope Dorian Finney-Smith will build on the game he had. The rookie from Florida scored 12 points – his second double-digit scoring game of the season – and was a pit bull on defense.

“Finney-Smith was a plus-22 in 24 minutes and if we were giving out game balls tonight he’d get the game ball,” Carlisle said. “He had great impact at the defensive end and his shot-making was terrific.”

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice

New Orleans

30

19

14

20

83

Dallas

24

23

20

29

96

New Orleans

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Davis

39:11

17-34

4-9

14

2

39

Hill

36:22

1-4

0-0

4

4

2

Cousins

31:58

3-9

4-8

15

3

12

Holiday

38:46

5-17

6-6

7

3

18

Thompson

24:44

0-4

0-0

2

2

0

Jack

25:17

2-3

2-2

0

4

6

Cunninghm

17:22

1-2

0-0

3

0

2

Williams

15:59

1-3

0-0

0

0

2

Frazier

10:21

1-2

0-0

0

1

2

Totals

240

31-78

16-25

45

19

83

Percentages: FG .397, FT .640. 3-Point Goals: 5-25, .200 (Cousins 2-5, Holiday 2-6, Davis 1-4, Cunningham 0-1, Jack 0-1, Williams 0-2, Hill 0-3, Thompson 0-3). Team Rebounds: 10. Team Turnovers: 19 (0 PTS). Blocked Shots: 2 (Davis 2). Turnovers: 19 (Cousins 7, Holiday 4, Davis 2, Hill 2, Jack 2, Frazier, Thompson). Steals: 7 (Cousins 3, Davis, Hill, Jack, Thompson).

Dallas

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Barnes

33:45

7-15

3-3

3

4

19

Nowitzki

28:03

8-12

0-0

9

2

18

Curry

37:16

4-12

2-2

7

2

13

Ferrell

29:27

3-9

0-0

5

2

7

Matthews

29:45

3-7

2-2

2

1

10

Noel

29:44

3-8

3-4

10

5

9

Finy-Smith

24:24

5-6

0-0

2

2

12

Harris

22:01

3-9

2-5

5

1

8

Mejri

5:35

0-0

0-0

0

6

0

Totals

240

36-78

12-16

43

25

96

Percentages: FG .462, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 12-26, .462 (Curry 3-5, Barnes 2-2, Nowitzki 2-2, Finney-Smith 2-3, Matthews 2-6, Ferrell 1-5, Harris 0-3). Team Rebounds: 4. Team Turnovers: 17 (14 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Finney-Smith 2, Noel, Nowitzki). Turnovers: 17 (Barnes 3, Curry 3, Harris 3, Noel 3, Matthews 2, Ferrell, Finney-Smith, Mejri). Steals: 12 (Barnes 3, Curry 3, Harris 3, Matthews, Noel, Nowitzki). Att.—20,411 (19,200). T—2:11. Officials—Steven Anderson, Dan Crawford, Kevin Scott