Hornets.com postgame: Mavericks 104, Hornets 100

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

Mavericks (25-29), Hornets (19-37)

It was over when… Dallas point guard Darren Collison dropped in a pair of free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining, giving the Mavericks a two-possession lead at 104-100. The Hornets led 100-96 after Ryan Anderson’s three-pointer with just under a minute left, but the Mavericks answered with a pair of three-pointers by Mike James and Vince Carter. New Orleans had several heartbreaking defeats early in the season during its 6-23 start, but Friday’s loss was arguably the toughest one to swallow. The Hornets had a chance to tie after Carter’s trey, but turned the ball over on an inbounds play near the sideline. 

Hornets MVP: You couldn’t ask for anything more than what Jason Smith provided for New Orleans in his 24 minutes of playing time. The 7-foot reserve finished with a season-best 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting, along with two blocks and five rebounds. Getting on the floor and mixing it up despite a torn labrum in his shoulder for much of this season, Smith continues to be an inspirational player. He piled up 16 of his points in the second half, repeatedly nailing his patented set shot from 15 to 20 feet off pick-and-pop plays.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Like Smith, fellow second-unit standout Ryan Anderson was a dominant force in the second half for the Hornets. The 6-foot-10 power forward had a quiet first half with only two points, but deposited 18 after intermission for a 20-point game. Anderson again reminded everyone that he’s not just a three-point shooter (though he was one of the six NBA players selected to the All-Star weekend shootout), grabbing 12 rebounds. He scored three key second-half baskets around the rim, using his size and footwork to convert.

The buzz on… Anthony Davis’ status. Davis (10 points, 11 rebounds, 4 offensive boards) was a jumping jack for much of his 24 minutes of playing time, repeatedly tipping balls on caroms off the rim, before a knee sprain forced him to leave the game in the second half. Fortunately for Davis and the Hornets, the No. 1 overall draft pick was ready to return to action midway through the fourth quarter, but Monty Williams opted to err on the side of caution and not re-insert the rookie. “I thought he was having a great game,” Williams assessed. “I did not want to risk putting him back in there. He was ready to go (play). I just didn’t want to put him back in the game.” Williams on Davis’ performance: “He didn’t shoot the ball that great, but I thought his energy (was excellent). So from that standpoint, we missed his energy (in the second half).” Davis indicated that the injury will not affect him going forward. "I came down on it and it started hurting," Davis explained. "It's a sprain. I was prepared to play if they needed me. It's fine."