New Orleans Pelicans have tough test in Luka, Mavericks

Over the last week, the New Orleans Pelicans have struggled closing games, something that’ll get even harder against an elite Western Conference squad.

The last few games haven’t gone to plan for the New Orleans Pelicans, as the team rides a five-game losing streak into tonight after dropping a pair to the Oklahoma City Thunder late last week.

Even tougher than some of the teams they’ve faced over the losing streak, the Dallas Mavericks and their MVP-in-waiting Luka Dončić are bringing a force into the Big Easy.

Tonight’s game is set for a 6 p.m. CT tip-off from the friendly grounds of the Smoothie King Center in downtown New Orleans.

Last time the two teams faced-off, the Mavericks sent the Pelicans home with a 116-123 loss on Oct. 25, the second game of the season.

Coming into the night, Dallas ranks fourth in the Western Conference at 14-6, while the Pelicans stand 14th after their recent rough stretch, owning a 6-14 record on the season.

It’ll be a tough match-up for the New Orleans Pelicans, who’ve struggled to contain the scoring impact from star players throughout the season.

With strong defenders in Kenrich Williams and Derrick Favors out of the lineup with injuries tonight, it’ll get even tougher to shut down a Dallas team with the top-ranked offensive rating, helped in part by the freakish start to the season from Dončić.

Averaging 30.6 points, 9.9 points, and 9.6 assists this season while shooting 48.3% from the floor, Dončić is having one of, if not the very finest age-20 season this game has ever witnessed.

Of course, the New Orleans Pelicans will hope their own young, star forward can fill up the stat sheet tonight to match the Slovenian slasher. Brandon Ingram continues to rise in value across the league, averaging 25.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 4 assists while shooting 48.8% from the floor with a crisp 41.8% three-point clip.

Regardless, the focus for the Pelicans tonight needs to be on slowing down the Dallas offense. With good defenders like Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball, they should be able to check the team’s guards with some ease, but will certainly struggle in slowing 7-foot-3 center Kristaps Porzingis.

How to watch Dallas Mavericks @ New Orleans Pelicans:

Tipping off from the Smoothie King Center, tonight’s game will be featured as a part of TNT’s NBA Tuesday coverage, making it available to those with an appropriate cable package.

Those who don’t have access to a cable package can find a plan that suits their needs via Fubo TV, helping fans catch their teams all season long.

How to listen to Dallas Mavericks @ New Orleans Pelicans:

As usual, fans who prefer to listen to the hardwood’s finest over the airwaves can tune in to ESPN Radio New Orleans 100.3 FM to catch the call.

Fans who want to listen to the game but are out of the media market can sign up for a Tune In premium account to listen to New Orleans Pelicans’ calls anytime.

What to read to get you ready for tonight’s action:

Over at The Bird Writes, Preston Ellis previews the scary match-up against Luka and the Mavericks, who could do some damage against a weak Pelicans defense.

While Zion Williamson is six weeks into his surgery schedule and hasn’t started on-court work yet, there are reasons to believe he’s close to crossing that threshold.

Check out where the New Orleans Pelicans finished in ESPN‘s latest power rankings, as the list currently ranks the inbound Mavericks at eight.

Next: The Pels need Kenny Hustle back as soon as possible
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