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Pelicans, Mavericks open home-and-home set

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Orleans Pelicans will try to halt a three-game losing streak Friday night when they begin a home-and-home series in The Big Easy against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Pelicans have struggled longer than this streak would show. They've lost four of five and five of seven. After this home-and-home with Dallas, New Orleans is at home for three straight.

On Wednesday, the Pelicans fell at home to the Washington Wizards, 102-96.

Eric Gordon paced New Orleans with 23 points, while Anthony Davis posted 21 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in the loss. Greg Stiemsma and Brian Roberts scored double figures off the bench for the Pelicans.

The game was tied after one quarter, but the Wizards pummeled the Pelicans in the second, 33-16. The lead was 21 after 36 minutes and New Orleans fought gamely in the fourth before falling.

"They just played harder," said Pelicans coach Monty Williams. "The biggest deal to me was the level of competing was different. As you saw in the fourth quarter all we did was compete and do what we do. We didn't make any adjustments, we just did what we were supposed to do and we had a 30-15 quarter."

The Mavericks have been struggling with three losses in their last four games. On Wednesday, the Mavs got creamed in San Antonio, 112-90, without Shawn Marion, who missed the game with a bruised right shoulder.

"We've got to have other guys step up," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "You know, at this point we're getting into mid-January and there's going to be games missed all across the league. We've got to have other guys ready to step forward, and this was a disappointing night."

The Mavs had only two players in double figures. Monta Ellis finished with 21 points, while Vince Carter added 14. Dirk Nowitzki was held to eight points on 3-for-14 shooting.

The Dallas defense wasn't very impressive on Wednesday. They allowed San Antonio to shoot 52.6 percent from the floor and 45 percent from long range. The Spurs also dismantled the Mavericks on the boards, winning the rebounding margin, 55-32.

During this poor run, the Mavericks have allowed 105 points per game.

The Mavericks beat the Pelicans by three in New Orleans on Dec. 4 and have taken four straight and seven of nine in this series. Dallas has won in its last three trips to bayou country.

01/10 10:49:36 ET