Washington, Williams Both Double-Double, Charlotte’s Defense Holds Dallas to 38% Shooting
Two consecutive contests against the Dallas Mavericks played out in nearly the exact same manner for the Charlotte Hornets, culminating with a 110-104 matinee home victory on Sunday afternoon at Spectrum Center.
Gordon Hayward led the hosts with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting, six rebounds and four assists in the win, with PJ Washington totaling 21 points and a season-high 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the campaign. Mark Williams was back in the starting lineup and had 15 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, becoming the first Charlotte rookie to record multiple 15-15 games in the same season since Emeka Okafor in 2004-05.
Much like Friday evening in Dallas, a game-opening 18-5 run helped the Hornets build a 19-point advantage with 4:04 left in the second quarter, before the Mavericks retaliated with a 19-7 stretch to close the first half down by only seven. It took until the under-six-minute mark of the fourth for Dallas to grab its first lead, which was quickly erased thanks to six straight unanswered points courtesy of Hayward.
After Dallas went back in front, 100-98, following a quick 6-1 spurt, a transition corner 3-pointer by Washington kicked off a 9-3 span that was punctuated by Washington finding Dennis Smith Jr. for a backdoor alley-oop dunk. Following a Maxi Kleber 3-pointer and a reverse layup from Williams, Luka Dončić’s contested 28-foot pull-up shot clanged off the front of the rim, leading into a pair of game-icing free throws from Svi Mykhailiuk.
“I’m just happy for the guys,” said Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford after the team’s second straight win over Dallas, following Friday’s 117-109 road triumph. “A bunch of guys made big plays and showed good poise at both ends. It’s good for everybody’s confidence. The biggest part of the game again was the first quarter – playing from ahead is a big deal.”
Added Smith, “I talked to the team when we got to Dallas and they were like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re getting their star (Kyrie Irving) back,’ whatever. I’m like, ‘They must be thinking it’s sweet or something. Let’s go out there and try to put their (butts) in the dirt.’ That was the goal in Dallas, and we tried to do the same thing today. Came out, executed and got two wins in a row.”
Smith had 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, five rebounds and six assists against his former team, JT Thor canned a career-best 3-of-3 3-point attempts for nine points and Bryce McGowens also added nine points, all of which came in the third quarter. Charlotte capitalized on Dallas’ smaller lineups to dominate the rebounding battle, 58-37, and held the Mavericks to 38.1% shooting (19-of-49 from 3-point, 13-of-35 from 2-point), the lowest by any opponent this season.
Dončić went off for 40 points – 16 in the second quarter – 12 rebounds and eight assists, marking his 13th 40-point game this season. Compounding the loss, which further damaged the Mavericks’ dwindling Play-In Game hopes, was Dončić getting whistled for his 16th technical foul of the campaign, which automatically triggers a one-game suspension if it’s not rescinded by the NBA.
The Hornets will now make a quick one-game trip to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, March 28 beginning at 8 PM ET. Follow all the action on Bally Sports Southeast and WFNZ FM 92.7.