With their eyes focused squarely on the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks have been chalking up victories at a rapid pace lately.

Wednesday’s workmanlike 108-89 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans at American Airlines Center was the Mavs’ 10th win in their past 12 games. It’s also their most impressive stretch of basketball since they went 18-1 from Jan. 22 to March 4, 2011 — the year the Mavs claimed their lone NBA championship.

“We’ve done better the last couple of weeks. But look, we’ve got a long way to go, and it’s all going to be coming fast and furious,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “The home games are obviously of great importance. Chicago coming in [on Friday] is going to be another hard physical game, and we’re going to have to be ready for that.”

The Pelicans threw a physical challenge at the Mavs (36-23), who are are now in sixth place in the Western Conference standings after the Bulls took care of the Golden State Warriors 103-83 on Wednesday.

Carlisle had to call for a 20-second timeout just 31 seconds into the game after Dirk Nowitzki went to the locker room while rubbing his left shoulder. Nowitzki returned with 8:44 left in the first period and finished with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting in only 27 minutes as the Mavs finished the season 4-0 against the Pelicans.

“I think he just had a zinger in his left arm or shoulder, so hopefully he’s OK,” Carlisle said. “He seemed to be OK the rest of the game.”

Nowitzki acknowledged that he’s had issues with his left shoulder ever since Utah’s Karl Malone hacked him in 1999.

“The shoulder just sometimes comes in and out a little bit, but it tingles a little bit for a couple of minutes,” Nowitzki said. “I walked it off in the tunnel and was able to finish the game.”

The Pelicans weren’t so fortunate when it came to left shoulders as All-Star forward Anthony Davis left the game for good with 3:58 remaining in the first half when he sprained his. Without their anchor, the Pelicans were like a bird flying in the path of an airplane.

Dallas only led 37-36 when Davis went down, but that ballooned to 78-64 late in the third period and 93-71 midway through the fourth quarter as the Mavs stepped on the gas and New Orleans offered little resistance.