Hornets Fight Hard But Lose To Mavericks 104-100
The New Orleans Hornets took a four point lead into the final minute of Friday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks at the New Orleans Arena but couldn’t close, losing 104-100.
The teams exchanged the lead five times in the final period, but New Orleans seemed all but destined to put it away after Ryan Anderson’s 25-foot 3-pointer hit nothing but net with 55 seconds to play, putting the Hornets up 100-96 and sending the crowd into a frenzy for their home team and the free french fries.
The Mavericks came out of a timeout ready, and pulled within one off Dallas guard Mike James’s three-pointer with 42 seconds remaining.
New Orleans took it back the other way, but Greivis Vasquez’s missed jump shot from 15 feet out was snatched up by Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, who fed Vince Carter for a three-point, 25-foot dagger of a shot from right in front of the Hornets bench to put the visitors up by two with just six seconds left on the board.
The Hornets took a timeout to regroup, but Eric Gordon bungled a mid-court inbound from Ryan Anderson and that was it for the Bees.
“You can’t be afraid to shoot it,” said Carter after the game. “If you feel confident in your shot, go ahead and shoot it. I know what feels good. I’ve been around. I’ve been in many situations where I’ve taken the game-winning shot and missed it. I’ve been in situations where I’ve hit big shots for our team. I’ve never been afraid to take a big shot and deal with the consequences either way.”
Carter put up 22 points tonight on 7-for-13 shooting, and was 3-for-3 from the line. He was most productive in the first half, with 16 points; the three-pointer to ice the game was his only tally in the fourth quarter.
Both Carter and Nowitzki started the game strong, running offense at will against a New Orleans defense that was unable to compensate for the Mavs’ penetration under the rim or against mid-range jump-shots. Dallas scored 35 points in the first quarter, with 65% shooting.
“Any time you lose a game you feel bad, but any time you lose a game because of your mistakes, it’s worse,” said Hornets head coach Monty Williams in his post-game press conference. “I thought out out-the-gate defense was bad. First quarter, we gave up 35 points. Third quarter, we gave up 30. To me, that is the game.”
The Hornets were able to stifle their opponent’s scoring in the second quarter, outscoring Dallas 29-18, and taking a 58-53 lead into halftime.
Eric Gordon scored 20 of his 23 total points in the first half, and drew fouls from contact with the Mavericks’ big men as he attacked the lane. He shot 88.9% from the line.
This was the Hornets’ third straight loss coming out of the All-Star break.
The 19-37 Hornets will continue their three game homestand this Sunday against the Sacramento Kings (19-37) at 5 p.m.
Hornets’ Jason Smith played with trademark intensity tonight, scoring a season-high 22 points. Smith shined in the second half of the game as he attacked the basket, scoring 16 of his points.
Anthony Davis, recorded a double-double, with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He left the game limping from a right knee sprain, with 7:07 left in the 3rd quarter and did not return.
“I came down on it and it started hurting,” Davis said after the game. “It’s a sprained knee, whatever they told you, that’s what it was. I was prepared to play if they needed me. It’s fine.”
Monty Williams declined to comment on the injury, but did say Davis’ loss changed the tempo of the team’s play after his injury.
Dallas center Bernard James only scored 4 points, but swatted at the Bees for 7 blocks.