Anthony Davis has been a man on a mission since the Pelicans (35-26) lost fellow big man DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending Achilles injury. The All-Star forward has stepped up his game during New Orleans' winning streak, averaging 39.3 points and 15.0 rebounds while recording double-doubles in every game.
He scored six of his 26 points in the final 1:53 Wednesday night when the Pelicans rallied from eight down in the final 8:55 to defeat the San Antonio Spurs 121-116. Jrue Holiday added 25 points as seven players finished in double figures for New Orleans, who are enjoying their longest winning streak since a ten-game run from January 9-26, 2011.
Dallas (19-44) have been trending in the opposite direction, with back-to-back losses and 16 defeats in their last 20 games overall following a 108-100 loss at Chicago on Friday night. Harrison Barnes scored 26 points and rookie Dennis Smith Jr. added 25, but the Mavericks went cold in the fourth quarter, scoring just 15 points as they squandered a seven-point lead.
The Mavericks have struggled to defend in the interior of late, giving up an average of 51.0 points in the paint in losing five of their last six. Dallas rank second in the league in that category, yielding just 41.2 per game overall on the season.