Kemba Walker had a game to remind the Eastern Conference coaches why he is again All-Star worthy.
Not much else reflected well on the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday, in a 115-111 home loss to the 15-28 Dallas Mavericks.
The 15-24 Hornets were coming off an encouraging 3-1 West Coast trip, and had four days off between games. Meanwhile, the Mavericks played the Orlando Magic in Dallas Tuesday, before the long flight to Charlotte. That had no tangible benefit for the home team, as the Hornets gave up 42 percent shooting from 3-point range from the Mavs.
Walker finished with 41 points, keeping the Hornets in the game in the last minute, with a layup and a free throw to trim the deficit to one with 30 seconds left. Walker missed a 3-pointer witih about 15 seconds left. Dwight Howard (15 points and 12 boards) grabbed the offensive rebound, and made it a two-point game with the Mavs taking possession with 10 seconds left.
Harrison Barnes scored 25 for the Mavericks, including two insurance free throws in the last 10 seconds. Mavs guard Yogi Ferrell added 22.
Three who mattered
Walker: He is again All-Star-worthy, although it’s probably unlikely the Eastern Conference coaches will give him the nod, with the team record being what it is.
Barnes: His time in Dallas has demonstrated he is more than just a complementary player at the NBA level.
Ferrell: Starting a small backcourt was a good idea for the Mavericks.
▪ Seldom does an NBA team shoot 51 percent at home in the first half, against a bad team that played the night before, and manage to trail. That summed up the Hornets at halftime.
▪ It’s been a month since Hornets backup center Cody Zeller had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Zeller has been cleared to do some light shooting, but has yet to be cleared for full on-court activity. More on Zeller Thursday.
▪ The first half Wednesday was the most dramatic example of Dwight Howard’s liability as a foul shooter; he took 12 of the Hornets’ 13 free throws, making only three.
▪ You can see the age finally catching up to Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, a lock to end up in the Hall of Fame. Watching Nowitzki get back in transition defense, on the second game of a back-to-back, looked painful.
▪ Hornets rookie Malik Monk played in only two of the previous five games, and then for a total of eight minutes. He played three minutes in the first half Wednesday, in part because the Mavericks tend to play small lineups often.
▪ Walker was charged with a technical foul in the third quarter, his fifth this season.
▪ By retaining Treveon Graham on the roster this week, Graham’s contract is now guaranteed for the rest of the season under the collective bargaining agreement.
▪ Charlotte’s Seth Curry has yet to play for the Mavericks this season, due to a stress reaction in his left tibia.
A OFFENSE: Acting head coach Stephen Silas worried that the layoff from games would hurt the Hornets’ shooting in this game. Wasn’t the case.
D DEFENSE: Tough to overcome giving up that many open 3-pointers.
C- COACHING: This was a really bad loss, particularly at home.
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell
Mavericks 115, Hornets 111
DALLAS (115)—Matthews 2-8 0-0 4, Barnes 9-13 4-4 25, Nowitzki 8-16 0-0 19, Ferrell 7-10 1-2 22, Smith Jr. 4-13 7-8 15, Powell 0-0 3-4 3, Kleber 2-7 0-0 4, Mejri 1-1 0-0 2, Barea 4-9 2-3 12, Harris 2-6 5-7 9. Totals 39-83 22-28 115.
CHARLOTTE (111)—Kidd-Gilchrist 5-9 1-2 11, Williams 2-3 0-0 5, Howard 5-5 5-18 15, Walker 16-28 6-6 41, Batum 2-9 0-0 4, O’Bryant III 0-1 0-0 0, Kaminsky 4-10 0-0 10, Carter-Williams 1-3 0-0 2, Monk 2-4 0-0 6, Graham 2-4 0-0 5, Lamb 4-8 3-4 12. Totals 43-84 15-30 111.
3-Point Goals—Dallas 15-36 (Ferrell 7-10, Barnes 3-5, Nowitzki 3-7, Barea 2-3, Harris 0-1, Kleber 0-2, Matthews 0-3, Smith Jr. 0-5), Charlotte 10-26 (Walker 3-9, Kaminsky 2-3, Monk 2-4, Williams 1-2, Graham 1-2, Lamb 1-3, O’Bryant III 0-1, Batum 0-2). Fouled Out—Mejri. Rebounds—Dallas 39 (Barnes 11), Charlotte 43 (Howard 12). Assists—Dallas 23 (Smith Jr. 6), Charlotte 16 (Walker 4). Total Fouls—Dallas 22, Charlotte 22. Technicals—Powell, Walker. A—14,462 (19,077).