The Hornets entered Wednesday’s matchup against the Mavericks looking to redeem themselves after blowing a 20-point 2nd half lead to the Clippers the night prior, but came up short in the 99-93 loss to Dallas.
Kemba Walker, who had 22 in the first half alone, led all scorers with 30 points. Jeremy Lamb added 15 - 14 of which were scored in the 2nd half. Mavs’ Rookie sensation Luka Doncic finished with a triple double (19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists).
The Hornets, but more specifically Kemba Walker, started off the contest strong. With 2:02 remaining in the first period, Kemba had more points (13) than he had in Charlotte’s blow-out loss to Dallas in January. But, a 10-0 run to close the quarter put the Mavs up by seven heading into the 2nd.
Dallas opened the 2nd extending their 7 point lead to 10 - beating the Hornets in transition leading to several easy buckets, but improved intensity on the defensive end cut the deficit to 6 at the half.
The third quarter was the most competitive of the game. There were 17 lead changes and 8 ties on Wednesday night and the majority of them occurred in this period. Lamb, who’d previously gone without a field goal, scored 12 of his 15 points in this quarter. The Hornets out-scored the Mavs 25-22 and found themselves trailing only 3 points heading into the 4th.
Charlotte managed to tie the game with 8:07 remaining, thanks to 9 straight points by Kemba Walker, but were unable to score the ball in the final minutes of the game.
“We just went dry,” Head Coach James Borrego said after the loss. “The last 17 possessions we scored 7 points. We had great looks, we just could not knock down a shot. I think our defense gave us a chance in this game. We weren’t perfect, but at least we gave ourselves a chance there. We just couldn’t score down the stretch. That was the key.”
Closing out games was a problem that plagued the Hornets at the beginning of the season, but it seemed like that trend was changing after strong 4th quarter outings against Memphis and Chicago, but it’s back to the drawing board for the Hornets who couldn’t find the rim in the final quarter in back to back games.
Charlotte will have a few days off before they travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks this Saturday. At 25-27 they’re currently in 7th place in the Eastern Conference.