DALLAS — Winning on the road is always tough in the NBA, and that’s been especially true for the New Orleans Pelicans in recent years.
However, the Pelicans (4-5) held on late to pull off a 99-94 road win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night to give the team a 3-2 record away from home.
Though they barely hung to defeat a struggling Dallas team, the players are pleased with the mental toughness they’ve shown playing in hostile environments.
DeMarcus Cousins satisfied with ‘ugly’ win in Dallas
"As ugly as this win was, we could’ve easily crumbled," said Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins. "But we found a way to pull out a win in a tough environment. Dallas is always a tough place to come in and get a win. They’re a better team than their record shows–they’re super scrappy, they never stop fighting.
"I think we showed a lot of character and a lot of fight tonight. Any win is a good win."
The Pelicans came into 2017-18 with a 22-60 record in road games during Alvin Gentry’s first two seasons as head coach.
But New Orleans owns a winning record on the road after more than one game for the first time since 2010-11. Their only losses this year in away games were to Memphis on opening night and to Portland when Anthony Davis played only five minutes before getting injured.
Sustaining that confidence on the road will be vital with the Pelicans closing their four-game trip against three teams with a combined 12-12 record.
"It’s really tough to win on the road," said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry. "For us to find a way to just hang in and find a way to win it, that’s the No. 1 thing. All the other little things that happened are very correctable."
Davis and Cousins shined once again on Friday and they continue proving that they are one of the NBA’s most explosive duos.
The Pelicans’ All-Star big men accounted for 50 points and 35 rebounds in the victory and they are the only teammates that are among the league’s top five scorers.
There was an adjustment period for both players after Cousins arrived in New Orleans in February of last season, but they’ve been putting up astronomical numbers through the first nine games of 2017-18.
Davis has at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in five of the seven games he’s reached double-digit minutes and he’s shooting 53.1 percent from the field, which is just shy of his career high.
Cousins is averaging 29 points, 14 rebounds and six assists after nine games, which are numbers no player in NBA history has been able to sustain for a full season.
"We just tried to dominate the paint, knowing that they don’t have a lot of rim protection," Davis said. "We did a great job finding each other, our guards did a great job finding us. We made the right passes out of the double team — some shots went in, some didn’t.
"I think me and (Cousins) did a good job tonight and everybody else did a great job of cutting without the basketball, getting easy looks at the rim and making open shots."
Will Guillory can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504.258.5344. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WillGuillory.
Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) returns to the bench and high fives head coach Stan Van Gundy during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wednesday, Oct. 25,2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)