New Orleans Pelicans: Grades for defensive meltdown vs. Mavericks

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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The New Orleans Pelicans were great against the Dallas Mavericks, especially if you only look at the box scores.

Zion Williamson scored a career-high 36 points on a near-perfect night. Brandon Ingram added 30 of his own. Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe combined for 8-of-14 from long range and even J.J. Redick added a trio of 3-pointers.

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Unfortunately, box scores don’t tell the whole story, as the New Orleans Pelicans played zero defense and allowed the Dallas Mavericks’ stars to have even bigger nights.

It took a team effort on defense to allow 143 points to the Mavericks, so let’s start there.

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS DEFENSE. F. . 27th in NBA. New Orleans Pelicans

After last night’s defensive meltdown, the New Orleans Pelicans are now 27th in the NBA in team defense.

It would be hard to argue that any player on either team had a good night defensively but the Pels might as well not have even been in the gym.

After getting torched from behind the arc by the lowly Chicago Bulls, the Pels allowed the Mavericks to shoot 55 percent from 3-point range, knocking down 16 of them.

The Mavs added 42 points in the paint, so the Pels couldn’t stop them anywhere.

It was a lackluster effort and the New Orleans Pelicans are learning the hard way that it doesn’t matter how good you are on offense if you can’t stop the other team.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks: Grades for point guards

C+. . Point Guard. New Orleans Pelicans. LONZO BALL

After a slow first half shooting the ball, Lonzo came back and ended the game with a good stat line of 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds. He only turned the ball over once and hit 40 percent from long range, which are numbers you’d take from him every night.

But we can’t ignore that he was the one who was supposed to be guarding Luka Doncic, who scored 46 points. This certainly wasn’t all Lonzo’s fault as the Pels were getting torched in the pick-and-roll all night but Lonzo could not keep Doncic from getting wherever he wanted to.

Point Guard. New Orleans Pelicans. KIRA LEWIS JR.. C-.

Kira Lewis Jr. didn’t do much of anything against the Mavericks, scoring five points and failing to get an assist in 17 minutes.

The book is still on on the rookie, but it’s fair to wonder how the 2020 Draft might have gone differently, especially after watching 6-foot-8 wing Saddiq Bey drop 30 points and 10 rebounds on Boston.