NEW ORLEANS - The sliding Hornets were unable to reverse their fortunes, despite a valiant effort on Saturday night at New Orleans Arena. New Orleans dropped their seventh straight game and 12 of their last 13, falling 81-83 to the Dallas Mavericks in front of a lively crowd of 15,471.
The Hornets' trend of poor second-half play continued, scoring only 12 third quarter points after being tied 41-41 at halftime. The 12-point performance was the fewest points scored by New Orleans in a quarter this season. Coupled with woeful free throw shooting (21-of-32), New Orleans was unable to complete their fourth quarter comeback attempt.
Carl Landry came off the bench and scored 10 of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter. However, Landry made only four of his eight fouls shots down the stretch.
The Mavs (10-7) were without Dirk Nowitzki (knee), but got production across the board from their starters and the bench. Lamar Odom started in place of Nowitzki and shared team-high scoring honors with Delonte West with 16 points apiece. Shawn Marion added 14 points, while Jason Terry scored 12 points, including key free throws in the closing momements.
The Hornets trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, but whittled the Mavs lead down to 79-78 at the 1:06 mark in the fourth quarter after a free throw by Landry. New Orleans got the defensive stop they needed when Terry missed a long jumper, but on the next possession Trevor Ariza was unable to connect on a wild jumpshot.
Dallas grabbed the rebound, forcing the Hornets to send West to the foul line. West sank both foul shots, giving the Mavs a 81-78 lead with :14 seconds left in the game. New Orleans decided to go for a quick two-point shot, scoring on a dunk by Landry. The Hornets then fouled Terry, who calmly made both attempts to put Dallas ahead 83-80 with :05 seconds remaining. Dallas wisely fouled Jarrett Jack on the ensuing possession, refusing to give up a three-point attempt.
Jack made the first free throw, before intentionally missing the second attempt. Jack got the offensive rebound, but his desperation shot at the buzzer fell short, giving the Mavs their first win in New Orleans since 2006.
"This is a great win for us," Dallas Coach Rick Carlisle said. "This has been a very tough place for us to get a win. We Hadn't won here since I got here and even a time before that. One of the reasons it's hard to win here is because these guys compete hard, but I'm proud of our team"
It was an off shooting night for both teams with Dallas shooting 40 percent from the field and New Orleans finishing at 37 percent. The teams combine to shoot 6-of-45 (12 percent) from beyond the arc. Dallas outrebounded New Orleans, 48-41, becoming only the third team to do so this season.
Emeka Okafor tied his season-high with 16 points and grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds. Jack and Ariza finished with 12 points each.
"Yeah, we had a chance to win," Ariza said about his team's play in the closing moments. "A play here and there, it's pretty much the same story. We were right there and then a turnover happens and then a miss, rebounding or something. We're just not closing games out the way we know we can. That's the story of our season so far."
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