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DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 40 points, and the Dallas Mavericks recovered from a cold start to beat New Orleans 110-107 on Saturday night for their second win in as many days against the Pelicans.
Nowitzki scored 20 points in the third quarter and hit seven straight shots after starting just 2 of 9 from the field.
Monta Ellis broke a 99-all tie with two free throws, and Nowitzki hit three more after getting fouled on a 3-pointer by Jason Smith.
Anthony Davis had 28 points and 14 rebounds for the Pelicans, who lost their fifth straight and dropped six games below .500, both season highs.
The Mavericks, who won three of four games in a five-night stretch, almost blew a seven-point lead in the last 2 minutes after shooting 27 percent in the first half.
Davis made five of six free throws to get New Orleans within two at 106-104 with 18 seconds left.
Dallas had to call timeout after having trouble inbounding the ball, and Nowitzki hit two foul shots for a four-point lead and his first 40-point game since April 16, 2012, at Utah. He also had 40 in that one.
Darius Miller hit his fourth 3-pointer of the second half to get New Orleans within a point, and Jose Calderon hit two free throws for Dallas for the last of his 17 points. Austin Rivers tried to get off a 3-pointer at the buzzer but was tied up by Ellis, who had 26 points.
Eric Gordon had 20 points for New Orleans before fouling out on a driving layup by Ellis that put Dallas up 106-99. Al-Farouq Aminu had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Pelicans were playing their second straight game without leading scorer Ryan Anderson and assist leader Jrue Holiday. Anderson missed his fifth game with a herniated disc and is out indefinitely. Holiday has a stress fracture in his right shin.
The Mavericks were without starter Shawn Marion for the fourth straight game with shoulder and rib injuries.
Miller hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Davis had an alley-oop dunk and a jumper during a 10-2 run that put New Orleans up 95-92.
In the first half, both teams appeared to be feeling the effects of their previous game a night earlier and 500 miles away in New Orleans — a 107-90 Dallas win.
The Mavericks were 2 of 19 from the field early in the second quarter when Nowitzki got fouled while making a 3-pointer and converted the four-point play. While that sparked a run to Dallas' first lead, it didn't improve the shooting much.
Dallas finished the first half 9 of 33 on field goals but had a 42-37 lead because of 20 free throws. Nowitzki had eight of the freebies and 13 points before halftime despite 2-of-8 shooting.
The Pelicans trailed at the break because they also had shooting difficulties, going 12 for 37 from the field and failing to keep pace on free throws in the second quarter.
The ugly start also included multiple air balls and an air-mailed pass by Gordon — about 10 feet over everybody's head into the third row behind the Dallas bench. It was one of six turnovers in the first half for Gordon.
NOTES: Mavericks rookie PG Shane Larkin sprained his right ankle in the third quarter and didn't return. ... The Mavericks didn't get their first field goal until Calderon hit a 3-pointer with 6:55 left in the first quarter. ... Nowitzki had the fourth 20-point quarter of his career. His highest was franchise-record 29 against Utah in the fourth quarter on Nov. 3, 2009.