NEW ORLEANS (AP) – New Orleans rookie Jordan Hawkins hasn’t been bashful about taking his share of shots in his first 11 NBA games — and the Pelicans love that about him.
“We want our guys to play with confidence, and Jordan’s one of those guys. You don’t have to tell him to shoot,” Pelicans lead assistant James Borrego said. “We love what he does for us. We love his confidence. That’s why we drafted him. We believe in him.”
Hawkins and Brandon Ingram each scored 25 points, and the Pelicans snapped a five-game skid with a 131-110 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in an NBA In-Season Tournament game on Tuesday night.
Zion Williamson highlighted his 19-point performance with two alley-oop dunks and double-clutch, reverse, two-hand dunk on a breakaway that he initiated with a steal from Luka Doncic. Herb Jones also had 19 points with five steals and two blocks — one on Doncic — as New Orleans improved to 1-1 in West Conference Group B pool play. The Mavericks slid to 1-2 in tournament play.
The oft-spectacular and prolific Doncic was not in his usual form. He scored 16 points, but missed 11 of 16 shots, turned the ball over eight times and was a minus-26 in 26 minutes on the court.
“Bad game,” said Doncic, who also complained that the court New Orleans is using for the tournament was slippery and unstable. “It’s 82 games in an NBA season. Of course there’s going to be bad nights. We played bad. That’s it.”
Kyrie Irving, who led all scorers with 35 points when the teams met two nights earlier, was limited to 17 points. Tim Hardaway Jr. also scored 17 before coach Jason Kidd pulled all the starters for most of the final period.
The Mavericks were sloppy in general, committing 20 turnovers that New Orleans turned into 31 points.
“It was a bad night all the way around, our defense, our energy and the turnovers hurt us,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “Give New Orleans credit. They came out and they played hard.”
Pelicans coach Willie Green missed the game because he was ill. Borrego filled in as acting head coach for the Pelicans, who looked eager to redeem themselves on their purple and fluorescent green tournament court after losing big to Dallas in a regular-season contest in New Orleans on Sunday night.
“We just took a bad loss on our home court two days ago,” Williamson said. “We came out here and handled business. Now we’ve got to keep the momentum going.”
New Orleans shot 52.1% (49 of 94) overall and combined to hit 14 3s, matching the Mavs’ makes from deep. The Pelicans had 46 fast-break points to Dallas’ 12, and 60 points in the paint to the Mavs’ 40.
Reserve Naji Marshall, who scored 16 points, closed out the first quarter by banking in a shot from beyond half court at the horn, giving New Orleans a 33-26 lead.
Hawkins, drafted 14th overall out of UConn, came off the bench to score 19 of his points in the first half, hitting three of New Orleans’ nine 3s in the opening 24 minutes. Hawkins finished with 5 3s to give him 32 made shots from deep in his first 11 NBA games.
“I don’t care about missing a shot. I know the next one is going in,” Hawkins said. “I know I’m supposed to be here. I know what I’ve done to get to this point, all the hard work I put in.”
New Orleans led by as many as 19 points in the second quarter and took a 70-54 lead into halftime after Hawkins was fouled on a missed 3 and hit al three free throws.
Mavericks: Visit Washington on Wednesday.
Pelicans: Host Denver on Friday in a tournament game.