Mavericks Halt Hornets’ Winning Streak at Four Games

Charlotte’s Offense Stalls with Limited Takeaways, Transition Opportunities in Loss
by Sam Perley

More Coverage: Game Action Gallery | Pregame Fashion Gallery | Coach Borrego Interview | PJ Washington Interview | Terry Rozier Interview

The Charlotte Hornets fell behind early in the first quarter and never quite recovered, losing to the Dallas Mavericks at home, 104-93, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, which also ended their four-game winning streak.

PJ Washington led the way for the hosts with 16 points, a team-high 10 rebounds and a career-high-tying six assists, good for his second double-double of the season and sixth as an NBA player. Terry Rozier was just ahead of the second-year forward in the scoring column with a team-high 18 points and six rebounds.

Dallas outscored the Hornets, 32-16, in the opening quarter after shooting 52% from the field and tallying 18 points in the paint. Charlotte’s offense righted itself a bit in the ensuing frame against the visitors’ bothersome height and length, although the team still entered halftime trailing by 17. The Hornets staged an 18-5 run midway through the third to get within nine, but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the contest.

“It looked like Dallas had a little more juice than us in the first quarter,” said Head Coach James Borrego afterwards. “A lot of that is when you’re making shots, you have more juice and first quarter, we could not make a shot. That’s not the first time this has happened. Slow starts can catch up to you. Our defense kept us in it at times, but that first quarter cost us. That was the game right there. We needed to make more shots.”

Gordon Hayward finished with 16 points and four assists before exiting the game with a left hip strain in the third quarter. Devonte’ Graham was also in double figures with 12 points and a team-high seven assists and Cody Martin tallied a season-high nine points and four rebounds in 11 minutes off the bench. Bismack Biyombo grabbed nine rebounds to move pass Anthony Mason for sixth place on the franchise’s all-time leaderboard (now at 2,361).

Luka Dončić responded nicely from a tough outing against the Hornets two weeks ago to finish with a game-high 34 points (16 in the third quarter) on 14-of-25 shooting (5-of-9 from three), 13 rebounds, nine assists and four blocks. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 18 points, Kristaps Porzingis scored 16 in his season debut and Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in four points and a game-high 14 rebounds for a Mavericks squad down five rotational players because of NBA Health and Safety Protocols.

Charlotte shot just 38% from the field on the night, a clip that included a 10-of-38 mark from long distance (26%). The hosts also struggled to generate transition opportunities as well, ending the 48-minute affair with just 11 points scored off 10 Dallas giveaways and 17 fast-break points on 7-of-15 shooting.

Borrego added, “I thought we could have played some better offensive possessions and I thought we could have been more aggressive attacking the paint. We settled too much in the first quarter, offensively, for living with perimeter shots. Their length was there and it bothered us, but we still have to be committed to driving the paint, getting to the rim and kicking out. We have to have better spacing and more of an attack mentality.”

The Hornets will close out the back-to-back set on the road tomorrow night, Jan. 14, against the Toronto Raptors starting at 7:30 PM EST in Tampa, FL. Catch the action on Fox Sports Southeast, the Fox Sports GO app and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM.

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