Davis, Cousins lead Pelicans past Mavericks 121-118

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis had 30 points and 13 rebounds, DeMarcus Cousins added 29 points and 16 rebounds in his return from a two-game absence, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Dallas Mavericks 121-118 on Wednesday night.

Back from a right ankle sprain, Cousins played 40 minutes. His baskets included a 29-foot 3-pointer at the end of the first half and he was 10 of 12 at the free-throw line. Davis’ highlights included an offensive rebound and dunk with 1:50 left as New Orleans won for the seventh time in 10 games.

Davis’ dynamism was on full display when he leapt to deflect Wesley Matthews’ pass from behind and began breaking up court as Jrue Holiday corralled the loose ball and flipped a quick pass up court to Davis. The Pelicans All-Star then dribbled around Yogi Ferrell and completed the fast break with a soaring one-handed jam.

Jordan Crawford’s 15-point performance included a 22-foot jumper that put the Pelicans up 121-116 with 47 seconds left.

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Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points for Dallas, which lost its third straight. Harrison Barnes scored 19 and Seth Curry 18 for the Mavericks. Dallas had a final shot to tie the game as time expired, but Matthews’ 3-point attempt missed.

The Mavs played most of the game without guard Devin Harris, who was ejected early in the second quarter for angrily protesting calls made by official Ben Taylor. Harris had to be restrained by teammates as he launched into a tirade in response to his first of two quick technical fouls. Harris was upset he’d been called for a personal foul after a collision with Pelicans guard Jordan Crawford that sent Harris crashing to the court. Earlier in the quarter, no foul had been called when Harris wound up flat on his back following a collision with New Orleans guard E’Twaun Moore.

Shortly after Harris’ ejection, New Orleans built its first double-digit lead of the game on consecutive 3s by Dante Cunningham, who finished with 15 points.

The lead got as large as 14 points when Holiday’s 3 made it 57-43 late in the second quarter. But Dallas kept chipping away and regained the lead when Ferrell, who had 15 points, hit a mid-range jumper to make it 100-99 with 7:42 left. Holiday, who had 18 points, answered with a short jumper. And after Nerlens Noel clanked an attempted alley-oop dunk off the rim, Crawford added a 3 to give the Pelicans a 104-100 lead.

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New Orleans maintained the lead the rest of the way.


Mavericks: Coach Rick Carlisle announced before the game that he had decided to rest 7-foot-2 center Salah Mejri, who had lingering right knee soreness from a collision during Monday night’s loss to Oklahoma City. Carlisle downplayed the seriousness of the injury, saying he simply wanted to rest Mejri in hopes of keeping the center healthy for the bulk of remaining games this season. … Carlisle and assistant coach Melvin Hunt both were called for technical fouls for disputing Harris’ ejection. … J.J. Barea had 11 assists for Dallas.

Pelicans: Davis now has at least 30 points and 13 rebounds in four straight games, making him the first NBA player to do so since Shaquille O’Neal in April 2000. … Davis and Cunningham had an awkward moment when they both chased a loss ball over the scorer’s table. Cunningham dove over the table in a failed effort to the ball while Davis, close behind tried to stop himself but crashed over the table anyway, landing in a prone position on top of Cunningham. In the process, Davis appeared to accidentally shove Cunningham’s head into a video monitor. The pair could be seen grinning about the incident when they returned to the court. … Crawford, who has played just 12 games with New Orleans this season, has scored at least 10 points in 11 of them.

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Mavericks: Visit Memphis on Friday night.

Pelicans: Host Sacramento on Friday night.