Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans are giving themselves hope of becoming relevant in the Western Conference playoff picture by doing something they couldn't in numerous narrow losses early this season — close out games.
Davis scored 28 points — including six in the final 2:12 — and grabbed 16 rebounds, and New Orleans beat the Dallas Mavericks 111-104 on Monday night for the Pelicans' third victory in four games.
"Our season's on the line," said Davis, whose team has won just 12 of its first 33 games but sat 2½ games behind Sacramento for the last playoff spot in the West before the Kings finished their game against Philadelphia late Monday night. "We've got a lot of games coming up, but we've got to win them at home."
Pelicans reserve guard Langston Galloway made all five of his 3-point shots, hitting a couple with quick, decisive releases from 26 feet, and finished with 17 points.
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"As soon as I cross past half court, I feel like that's my range and I'm shooting from wherever," Galloway said, grinning but perhaps only partly joking as teammate Solomon Hill mocked him playfully from a neighboring locker.
Davis finished his scoring with four important free throws and a 19-foot jumper. He also got one of his two blocks when Harrison Barnes attempted a layup with 22 seconds left.
"Davis is going to get his 28 points. ... We did a decent job on him," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "The guy that beat us tonight is Galloway. He made five 3s and we never got close enough to him to even contest them."
Deron Williams scored 24 points for Dallas, while Wesley Matthews scored 17 and Seth Curry 16.
Dirk Nowitzki, who's been nursing a sore right Achilles tendon, scored 10 points in 17 minutes. As the Mavs have done lately, they gave Nowitzki all of his playing time in the first half. Nowitzki is optimistic the Mavs can start winning more during a January schedule that should give the club more rest.
"We'll fight through it and somehow find a way to win some and get healthier and get going," Nowitzki said.
Carlisle said he wasn't sure whether Nowitzki would play Tuesday night.
The Pelicans appeared primed to pull away when Galloway's fourth 3 gave New Orleans an 88-77 lead early in the fourth, but Dallas responded with an 11-2 run that included 3s by Curry and Justin Anderson.
Galloway's fifth 3 briefly gave New Orleans some breathing room, but Williams responded with a pair of 3s to make it 95-94 with 4:35 to go.
"We had a lot of miscommunication on two Deron Williams 3s, but coach called time out, we figured it out, we were able to make them take tough shots at the end," Davis said. "We did a good job of closing this one out."
Dallas didn't hit another field goal until Williams' layup with 47 seconds left.
Mavericks: Barnes finished with 15 points for Dallas, which shot 49.3 percent (37 of 75) and combined for 13 3s. ... While center Andrew Bogut missed his 11th straight game with a right knee injury, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Bogut is "close" to returning and could play sometime this week.
Pelicans: E'Twaun Moore scored 16 points and Buddy Hield 14 for New Orleans, which shot 53 percent (37 of 70), including 12 of 25 from 3-point range. ... Dante Cunningham scored 11 points, including a clutch 3 with 4:23 to go, and Hill had 10 points, capped by four clutch free throws in the last minute. ... Jrue Holiday struggled with his shooting, making just 2 of 11 shots, but he had 11 assists.
Mavericks: Host Houston on Tuesday night.
Pelicans: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.