At least for one day, the hate for Rajon Rondo can stop after an excellent performance from the point guard in a 102-93 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, that included a surprisingly impressive day for Richard Jefferson, making up for the absence of key players like Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons.
Rondo scored 19 points and looked like someone who has learned his lesson after a benching, a suspension for one game and overall somewhat being in collision mode with his head coach. He was aggressive with the ball and even more surprisingly, accurate from outside the paint, not looking shaky or lacking any confidence when it comes to those long range jumpers that are often so difficult for him.
It wasn’t so pretty from the Mavericks, not playing fast, fun to watch basketball this time. The ball didn’t move around all that well and players took a lot on their own shoulders a lot of the time. It worked because the Pelicans without Anthony Davis can’t compete on both ends of the floor, but the Mavericks shouldn’t finish games with just 11 assists. This team isn’t built to be carried by players who look for the shot first, second and third.
Monta Ellis scored 20 points and so did Dirk Nowitzki. Jefferson scored 16 points to everyone’s surprise, while Bernard James looked awful at center with 0 points. Amar’e Stoudemire did well off the bench with 14, but his time on the floor was the worst stretch for the Mavericks in a mostly comfortable game. Devin Harris carried on with his fine form, scoring 14 points in 19 minutes. The Mavericks outscored the Pelicans 50-24 in the paint, also winning the turnover battle 13-5.
But the Dallas Mavericks shouldn’t be jumping for joy just yet. Yes, while Anthony Davis stays out and the Phoenix Suns continue crumbling for various reasons, the current top 8 in the West are going to stay there come playoff time, but the Mavericks haven’t been looking all too convincing recently. Yes, they won a game without Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons playing, but the Pelicans without Davis aren’t remotely close to competitive most of the time. This was a nice win to build some confidence and momentum, but nothing more than that.