DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks are breathing a bit easier after getting by the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.
"We made some shots, stayed the course and just tried to wear them down," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said after the 107-98 win.
Despite the season being less than two weeks old, both the Mavericks and Pelicans took the floor with a sense of desperation.
The Mavericks (3-3) avoided a winless opening homestand by pulling away in the final period to top injury-ravaged New Orleans at American Airlines Center.
Guard Deron Williams scored 19 points, and forward Dirk Nowitzki added 18 for Dallas, which was in danger of falling to 0-3 at home for the first time in seven years before a game-deciding 17-5 run in the fourth quarter.
"We did a good job of being efficient with the ball and not having catastrophic turnovers," Carlisle said. "We were getting good shots and getting the ball to the basket, which really helps you set your defense."
The Pelicans dropped to 0-6 and remain the only team in the Western Conference without a victory.
"We are trying to figure out why we can't put together 48 minutes of good basketball," first-year New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. "If I had that answer I wouldn't be standing here answering these questions. We have to keep plugging away and working at it.
"You don't quit. It's a long season and along the way we have to get it turned around. We have to have a sense of urgency of doing that."
Gentry had only nine players at his disposal. In addition to the myriad injuries that have hit the club, starting point guard Jrue Holiday sat to rest on the second night of a back-to-back.
Power forward Anthony Davis followed a 40-point effort Friday with game-high 25 points against Dallas. Davis made 11-of-19 shots to go along with six rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
"We're working hard," Gordon said. "It's just a couple of possessions in a game where it goes away from us. We lose track defensively or offensively, we just have too many lapses where we're not converting, and the teams are taking advantage of that."
The Mavericks turned a 79-75 lead into an 86-70 advantage midway through the fourth. Nowitzki scored nine points in the first six minutes of the quarter.
Dallas shooting guard Wesley Person scored a season-high 13 points, and center Zaza Pachulia grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds.
Forward Dwight Powell (career-high 15 points and seven rebounds) and guard J.J. Barea (13 points) came up big off the bench for the Mavs.
Powell, in his second year, has put together several solid outings in his first season as a rotational player.
"My role has been to come in and infuse energy, be active on the offensive and defensive end, and rebound," Powell said. "That's what I'm been trying to do."
The Pelicans will have to wait until Tuesday for a shot at that first win, with the Mavericks coming to New Orleans to finish off a home-and-home.
Davis and Anderson combined for 27 points as New Orleans took a 48-42 lead into the locker room. The Pelicans finished the half with a flurry, as the Mavericks had more than a four-minute scoring drought.
New Orleans opened the game with an 8-0 lead before Dallas responded later in the quarter with an 11-0 run. Powell gave the Mavs a lift off the bench during the spurt.
Mavs small forward Chandler Parsons was back in the starting lineup, but only played in the first half after a one-game experiment of just playing in the second half. He scored six points.
NOTES: Pelicans C Kendrick Perkins is out 2-3 months with a pectoral injury. Perkins had moved into the starting lineup with the calf injury to C Omer Asik. New Orleans, with only nine available players, was also without G Jrue Holiday (rest), G Norris Cole (ankle), G Tyreke Evans (knee) and F Quincy Pondexter (calf). ... Dallas hadn't started 0-3 at home since losing its first four in 2008-09. ... The Mavericks have won 11 of the last 12 against New Orleans. ... New Orleans last started 0-6 in 2004-05.