Still glad he's back - Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Mavericks played a solid game in regulation but couldn't close it out yet again in the extra minutes, falling to the Hornets at home.
In the 15th new starting lineup, Dirk Nowitzki made his triumphant return. He was on the court for approximately four and a half minutes before Vince Carter came in and took his place. Both teams had their fair share of hideous shots... Eric Gordon missed the rim altogether on a jumper (got clean backboard though) and Shawn Marion air-balled a three. But the Mavericks found their way to the line quite a few times, so their turnovers and bad shots weren't quite the travesty they could have been. Ryan Anderson was hitting open threes, though, so despite a few patented Dirk scores (transition layup, Euro one-legged leanback) the Mavericks ended the first quarter down by 2.
The second quarter lineup included Jae Crowder, who quickly got an offensive rebound, hit a three pointer, and then stripped the ball on the defensive end. Both Dirk and Elton Brand hit some quick shots to give the Mavericks a five-point lead. And then the fan cam put up a picture of a cup of coke and asked people to pretend to drink out of it. I feel like you guys needed to know that. Anyway. Nowitzki and Brand led Dallas on a 13-0 run (starting with the end of the first) but New Orleans was hanging tough. A three by Vince Carter and a short two from Darren Collison sent the Mavericks into the locker room up 47-40 at halftime.
Quarter number three saw our most favorite thing: back-to-back trailing three-pointers by the Dirty One. He also managed one of his "out-of-control-drive-get-fouled" plays (© andytobo) and made it to the line. O.J. Mayo was consistently unable to score, despite having a few good looks. He wasn't really making up for it on defense, either. Fortunately the rest of the team was having moderate success and they were able to maintain their lead (67-63) going into the final period.
Dallas lost the lead in the first few moments of the fourth quarter, much to the surprise of Tim and myself. Despite Beaubois' best efforts to score (with some success), the Hornets found offense in Greivis Vasquez, who stretched the New Orleans lead to six. Some solid team defense finally led to a Mavericks stop and score, cutting the lead back to two. Brand ignited the crowd with a monster block of Eric Gordon, and as a result, Mayo tied the game with a fast break layup.
Remember when we used to rely on Jason Terry to spark the offense in the fourth quarter? Well Mayo made a valiant attempt to fill his rather large shoes, drawing the fans back into the game as time wound down. The lead seesawed with threes from Carter and Vasquez, but Vasquez missed a pair of free throws, and Dirk hit a jumper on the ensuing play, sending the arena into fits of joy with a one-point lead. As the clock inched closer to 0:00, Dirk drew a superstar foul, but uncharacteristically missed his first one and made the second, tying the game at 89. Overtime it was.
Mayo opened up scoring for Dallas in OT with a three-pointer, and Carter got himself to the rack with two minutes left. Gordon drained a three to give the Hornets a two-point lead with just over a minute to play and the Mavs took a timeout. A short while later, Collison was caught in the air as Gordon made a jumpshot, and his resulting free throw gave the Hornets a three point lead with just under five seconds to play. Carter got a decent look in the final seconds but couldn't hit the three to win it.
Mavericks dropped yet another overtime game, this time to the lowly Hornets.