Lonzo Ball Talks 'Difficult Night' for Pelicans After Luka Doncic's Career High

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans' Lonzo Ball (2) defends as Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic (77) handles the ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball said the team's struggles trying to guard the Dallas Mavericks' star tandem of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis led to a "difficult night" in a 143-130 loss.

Doncic scored a career-high 46 points and Porzingis added 36 as the pair accounted for more than half the Mavs' total in their shootout victory.

"Luka and Porzingis, that's a tough guard," Ball said. "Either way, if you wanna blitz the ball, then Porzingis is gonna be on the pop. If you wanna play and drop, Luka's gonna get you on his back and do what he wants. If you wanna switch, it's a mismatch. You know, so it's just a difficult night."

The Pelicans had two standout performances of their own as Zion Williamson (36 points) and Brandon Ingram (30) tried to help them keep pace.

New Orleans head coach Stan Van Gundy lamented the team's poor defensive effort as Dallas shot 58 percent from the floor and knocked down 25 three-pointers.

"It's because we're playing abhorrent defense," Van Gundy told reporters. "Our defense is ridiculous. We tried everything tonight. Two games in a row like this is inexcusable for me as a coach, and for the players it's inexcusable."

Meanwhile, the Mavericks are starting to pick up some serious steam with four straight wins while averaging 130.5 points during the streak.

"We got rolling," Doncic said. "That's four in a row. We get paid to win the games, and that's what we're doing right now. We've just got to keep going like this."

The Mavs improved to 13-14 with the victory, while the Pelicans dropped to 11-14.

Both teams are back in action Sunday as Dallas hosts the Portland Trail Blazers (15-10), while New Orleans visits the Detroit Pistons (7-19).