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Carlisle's Mavs Start 2-0 For First Time Since 2004-5


NEW ORLEANS — This has truly been an auspicious start to the season for the Dallas Mavericks, who are 2-0 for the first time since they started the 2004-’05 season with a 4-0 record.

Win No. 2 came Friday night in New Orleans when Coach Rick Carlisle's team rallied from a 16-point second-quarter deficit to defeat the Pelicans, 123-116, at Smoothie King Center.

Luka Doncic collected his ninth career triple-double as he finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Also for the Mavs, Kristaps Porzingis scored 24 points and blocked five shots, Delon Wright collected 20 points, seven rebounds and five steals, and Jalen Brunson finished with 14 points and eight boards.

The Mavs, who only won nine road games last season, will host the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday at 6 p.m. at American Airlines Center. But before taking on the Blazers, the Mavs had to work extra hard to overtake the Pelicans in their home opener.

“A lot of the things come down to execution,” coach Rick Carlisle said before the game. “Execution can be very basic things. It’s possession of the ball, you’ve got to rebound well — you’ve got to take care of it — or extra turnovers.

“One less rebound can be a loss just like that. With a young team that’s learning to play together and learning to win together, you’ve got to develop an attitude to take on the road.”

That attitude for the Mavs was on full display after they rallied from a demoralizing 41-27 deficit at the end of the first quarter to lead 72-64 at the half. Porzingis had 17 of his pints, along with three blocks, in the opening half as he dominated play at both ends of the court.

A basket inside and a long bank shot from 3-point range by Doncic basically sealed it for the Mavs, who were up at that juncture, 120-113, with 1:22 remaining in the game.

“These games are going to be close all across the league,” Carlisle said. “You’ll see a lot of close ones.

“It comes down to a possession here and there, a miss here, one you don’t turn over, one they do and vice versa. I like what they’re doing, I like their roster, and we like what we’re doing.”

Brunson hit a tough jumper from the left corner to put the Mavs up, 115-109, with 3:22 to go in the game.

In the first quarter, after Porzingis blocked Derrick Favors at the rim, the ball eventually landed in the hands of Brandon Ingram, who drained a 3-pointer to give New Orleans a 10-4 and forced the Mavs to whistle for a timeout less than three minutes into the game.

“He’s a multi-position player that can do just about anything on the court, really at both ends,” Carlisle said of Ingram, who scored nine first-quarter points. “He’s become a better defender each year, and offensively he’s shooting the three better all the time.

“He drives it, he’s mid-range, he posts and he can make plays. It’s a very tough matchup.”

Favors also was a tough matchup for the Mavs. Favors scored eight quick points—all inside the paint – as the Pelicans busted out of the gate for a 22-13 lead with 6:16 remaining in the first quarter.  Favors tallied 10 of his points in the opening quarter, which concluded with New Orleans shooting an incredible 72 percent from the field (18-of-25) and nursing a 41-27 lead.

But the Mavs  completely climbed out of that 14-point hole and led by as much as 11 points in the second half before holding on at the end.

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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