Slow Start Sends Hornets to Loss Against Mavericks

Graham Double-Doubles, Bridges and Monk Continue Solid Play in Home Defeat
by Sam Perley

Postgame Coverage: Game Gallery | Graham Highlights | Coach Borrego | Devonte' Graham | Jalen McDaniels

A bad opening quarter cost the Charlotte Hornets dearly in their final home game before the All-Star Break, leading to a 116-100 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, Feb. 8 at Spectrum Center.

Devonte’ Graham came alive late, finishing with a team-high 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting (14 points in the fourth quarter), four rebounds and a game-high 10 assists. This marked Graham’s 15th double-double of the season and second in as many outings.

Dallas shot 54.5% from the field in the first 12 minutes, knocking down 4-of-8 attempts from three in route to a 31-10 lead. Charlotte went just 4-of-24 (16.7%), matching its third-lowest first-quarter output at home in franchise history. The Hornets were a bit more consistent the rest of the way, although the early hole was simply too much to overcome in the long run.

“I wish I knew,” said Coach Borrego when asked about the reason behind the slow start. “I can sit and speculate all day long. The reality is we just had a bad first quarter. We scored 10 points in a quarter. That’s going to be a tough grind to get back into that game. Disappointing start, I can’t explain it. We have to be better. We own it and take responsibility for it.”

Miles Bridges had 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, extending his 15-point game streak to a career-long six games. Malik Monk continued his strong play with 19 points in 28 minutes off the bench and Terry Rozier was also in double figures with 15 points and six rebounds. Rookie Jalen McDaniels – recently recalled from the G League – added another five points and two rebounds off the bench, finishing with a team-best +13 plus-minus.

Of note, both Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were released earlier in the day. “We all felt [the absence] on the bench, in the locker room,” Borrego added. “This is our challenge in front of us. That’s where other people have to step up, learn, grow, take on the challenge, don’t shy away from it. We got it out of our system in that first quarter and settled down a little.

Seth Curry finished with 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting (6-of-8 from three) and six rebounds to lead the way for Dallas. Willie Cauley-Stein double-doubled with 15 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting and 10 rebounds, while Tim Hardaway Jr. (14), Dorian Finney-Smith (13), Jalen Brunson (13) and Boban Marjanović (11) made it seven Mavericks in double-figure scoring.

Dallas finished the night shooting 50.6% from the field and a red-hot 48.6% from three-point range (17-of-35). The Mavericks also won the board, 46-39 and outscored Charlotte in bench points by a wide 54-27 gap.

The Hornets will now embark on a two-game road trip beginning on Monday, Feb. 10, when they face the Detroit Pistons starting at 7 PM EST. Watch the game on Fox Sports Southeast or listen in on WFNZ 610 AM/102.5 FM or the Hornets app.


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