NEW ORLEANS -- Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has been an NBA scoring machine long enough to understand that a shooter's amnesia is the perfect antidote to an abysmal shooting performance.
In a 107-90 victory over the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, Nowitzki poured in a team-high 24 points in just 28 minutes, making 10 of 19 attempts from the field and hitting virtually every open jumper he took. It was a rousing response to his 3-of-14 night in a 112-90 loss at San Antonio on Wednesday night.
"He's 'The Great Nowitzki' -- how many times do I have to say it?" Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said with a smile after Dallas scored 62 points in the first half -- the most points surrendered in a half by the Pelicans -- and coasted to the victory.
"With a day off, it really helped. (Playing) San Antonio on (the second night of) a back-to-back was a rough night. Dirk knows we need him. He knows it better than any of us."
The 15-year veteran, who nailed 4 of 8 from 3-point range, has struggled on the back end of back-to-backs, which is why Carlisle was especially glad he could rest Nowitzki much of the fourth quarter with a return game against the Pelicans on Saturday night in Dallas.
Nowitzki said the win allowed the Mavericks (21-16) to rid themselves of the taste of a "really embarrassing loss on the road" to the Spurs. Even center Sam Dalembert, in Carlisle's doghouse for sleeping through a recent practice, contributed nine points and eight rebounds.
"It's definitely a good way to recover," Nowitzki said. "Four games in five nights is never an easy stretch, so I don't think we had anybody playing massive minutes, so it was good. Even the young guys game in and gave us a little lift."
Guard Monta Ellis added 23 points for the Mavericks, who made a season-high 14 3-pointers and outscored the Pelicans 42-9 from the perimeter. The Mavericks held the Pelicans (15-20) without a field goal in the first 4:05 of the third quarter and went on a 12-2 run to take control at 74-51.
New Orleans, which committed a season-high 18 turnovers, never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
"They hit a number of 3s tonight off of our mistakes -- 50-50 balls that we couldn't come up with," said New Orleans coach Monty Williams. "Sometimes we had the ball in our hands and couldn't keep possession. Fourteen 3s is a lot of 3s. A couple of them were tough shots, but I can recall a number of them that just happened because of the mistakes we made."
New Orleans, which dropped its fourth straight, was led by guard Eric Gordon with 27 points and forward Anthony Davis with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Ellis erupted for 11 second-quarter points, including eight during a 13-2 run in the final 2:57 of the quarter, to extend the Mavericks' lead to 62-49 at the half. The Mavericks converted the Pelicans' 11 first-half turnovers into 19 points.
Nowitzki added 14 points and seven rebounds in the first half and guard Vince Carter had 12 points, including 3 of 4 from long range.
The Pelicans were without leading scorer and forward Ryan Anderson (herniated disc) and point guard Jrue Holiday (stress fracture in the right tibia), who had combined to average 34.1 points per game.
"A lot of guys are going down, so we need to step up," said backup point guard Austin Rivers. It's times like these when you're really tested as a professional athlete."
It may be even worse for the Pelicans because guard Tyreke Evans, who had played some strong minutes as a sixth-man off the bench, played only nine minutes and did not score. The left ankle he hurt in training camp and then tweaked several weeks ago apparently has flared up once again.
NOTES: Pelicans PG Jrue Holiday said he could miss a month with a stress fracture in his right tibia. Holiday felt discomfort in the leg for several weeks, but the injury was confirmed only with an X-ray taken after a Wednesday night loss to the Washington Wizards. "He's been putting an ice pack or a heat pack on his leg for a while, at least the last couple of weeks," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "He's probably been just pushing through it not knowing it was a fracture." ... Williams said leading scorer PF Ryan Anderson, who has a herniated disc in his neck, is feeling better but still out indefinitely. ... Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said he was not concerned about the difference between PF Dirk Nowitzki's shooting at home and on the road. "We're not even halfway through the year yet, so there's a long way to go," Carlisle said.