The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks were within one, 91-90, with under 4 minutes to go in the game, but the Hornets used a 7-1 spurt to go up by seven, 98-91, with 2 minutes remaining. Charlotte won by a final score of 102-98.
Six players, including four reserves, scored in double figures for Dallas in the loss: Dennis Smith Jr. (21), Harrison Barnes (18), Yogi Ferrell (16), Doug McDermott (14), Nerlens Noel (10) and J.J. Barea (10). The Mavericks’ bench outscored the Hornets’ bench, 50- 35, on the night.
Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. returned to the lineup (after missing the previous two games due to a left ankle sprain) and tallied a team-high 21 points to go along with five rebounds and a game-high-tying six assists in 33 minutes. He scored 20-plus points for the fourth time in his last eight games (14th time this season). He also scored 17-plus points for the eighth time in his last nine contests. Smith is averaging 18.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game over his last nine games (2/28-3/24). Smith’s 14 20-point efforts this season are tied with Rolando Blackman (14 in 1981-82) for the fourth-most by a Mavericks rookie in franchise history. Mark Aguirre ranks third with 20 (Aguirre’s rookie campaign also came in 1981-82).
Mavericks center Nerlens Noel notched his second double-double of the season (39th career) with 10 points (5-8 FGs), a team-high 12 rebounds, two assists, a game-high four steals and one block in 27 minutes off the bench. It was his third double-digit rebounding outing of the season (11 boards vs. Atlanta 10/18, 14 vs. Denver 3/6).
Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. It was Ferrell’s third consecutive game with at least 15 points (16th this season). He is averaging 17.0 points per game on 52.5 percent (21-of-40) shooting over his last three contests (3/20-3/24).
Hornets center Dwight Howard posted his 45th double-double of the season (711th career) with 18 points (6-12 FGs, 6-12 FTs), a game-high 23 rebounds, two assists and one block in 34 minutes. The Hornets improved to 5-2 this season when Howard collects 20-plus boards. Howard has now totaled 50 points and 53 rebounds over his last two games (he had 32 points and 30 rebounds at Brooklyn on 3/21).
Hornets guard Kemba Walker netted a game-high 24 points in 34 minutes. He scored 20-plus points for the 48th time in his first 72 games of the season.
The Mavericks used a 14-2 run in the opening quarter to turn a five-point deficit (11-6) into a seven-point advantage (20-13). Dallas led by five (27-22) after one.
Charlotte trailed by six (30-24) early in the second quarter, but used a 23-7 run to go up by 10 (47-37) with a little over 4 minutes to go in the first half. The Hornets held a 54-48 edge at the break.
Dallas was within four (58-54) at the 8-minute mark of the third quarter, but Charlotte proceeded to go on a 9-0 run and extended its lead to 13 (67-54) with 5 minutes remaining in the period. The Hornets took a 79-70 lead into the final stanza.
Wesley Matthews (right proximal fibula fracture) and Seth Curry (left leg surgery) both remained out for Dallas. Nicolas Batum (left Achilles soreness), Michael Carter-Williams (left shoulder surgery) and Cody Zeller (left knee soreness) did not play for Charlotte. Mangok Mathiang was on assignment with Charlotte’s G-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm.
The attendance was 20,085. The Mavericks have now sold out 675 consecutive regular-season home games, which is an NBA-best sellout streak. The streak began on 12/15/01 and Dallas has sold out an additional 67 playoff games during that same stretch.
The Mavericks’ next game is at Sacramento on March 27 at 9:00 p.m. CT.