Dallas, TX — What a wild Saturday night it was inside the American Airlines Center, as the Dallas Mavericks (22-13) defeated the Charlotte Hornets (15-23) 123-120 in a very exciting overtime fashion.
Almost every seat was full though as the Dallasites cheered their team on from the stands.
The first quarter ended with the Hornets slightly ahead with a score of 32-20. Stand-out Mavs guard/forward Luka Doncic put up nine points in the quarter, proving early on once again that he is the dominate player for this Mavs team this year. Leading the Hornets in the first quarter was Devonte Graham, who put up six quick points for Charlotte.
The second period was a quick affair, as the Hornets put up 23 total points. The first half ended with a Doncic 3-pointer that got the crowd riled up going into halftime. However, when the buzzer went off the Hornets were still leading the Mavs 57-44.
It was 80’s night at the AAC and I think it’s very important to note that the killer band Sugar Hill Gang came out and ROCKED it. I am truly confident that everyone in that arena was out of their seats and I would be lying if I said I had to hold myself back from jumping up myself.
After a good dance session, the Mavs came out ready to roll. From trailing almost the entire first half, they were definitely ready to make their mark, ending the third with an 84-80 lead. Scoring an additional 10 points in the third, Doncic was on a hot streak and let me just tell you now…every time that guy scores the place screams louder than anything you’ve ever heard.
With the momentum on their side going into the fourth frame, Doncic (39 pts, 12 reb, 10 ast) didn’t slow down and neither did the rest of the Mavs team. With an arena yelling “MVP” and up out of their seats, the Hornets caught themselves behind. The game got intense.
Charlotte tied it up 103-103 with 19 seconds remaining (courtesy of a Terry Rozier jumper)and were able to hold the Maverics from scoring any additional points.
FREE BASKETBALL! To overtime we went.
Maci Kleber who scored a career-high 24 on Saturday, dunked to bring Dallas within one point (116-117) with 24 seconds left in OT. Dwight Powell fouled Charlotte’s Miles Bridges, who made both free throws to take a 119-116 lead with 13 seconds left. After another foul by Dorian Finney-Smith, Rozier (29 points) made both free throws to extend the lead to 121-118 with six seconds left.
Dallas’ Seth Curry was fouled with 4.5 seconds remaining, and made both free throws to bring the Mavs behind by one. However, Devante Graham made a pair of free throws for Charlotte to seal the deal on a crucial January victory.
Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t thrilled with the game and made it clear that they “let [the lead] slip away” and that that was “on us.” He further explained that is was a “disappointing loss” but that there were “a lot of things that [they] will learn from as a team.
Dallas will have a chance to redeem themselves on Monday when they host the Chicago Bulls.
By Abby Kowal