Gordon Hayward hurt as Charlotte Hornets’ win streak ends at four in loss to Mavs
The Charlotte Hornets' four-game winning streak ended with a thud and an injury to a major player.
The Dallas Mavericks jumped on the Hornets early at the Spectrum Center and scored a 104-93 win. This ended the longest winning streak of the Hornets in two seasons. Mavericks star Luka Doncic dominated with 34 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.
Potentially more significant long-term, Charlotte's little striker Gordon Hayward, who played at all-star level, was the third quarter game with a left hip strain. He did not return after scoring 16 points.
A big-impact free agent acquisition, Hayward is the Hornets' leading scorer on a 6-6 start averaging 22.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and four assists.
Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 18 points and added six rebounds. P. J. Washington had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Five observations outside of the game:
When the Hornets reported Haywards' injury, they just said he was out for the rest of the game. Further details were not immediately available.
This is a crowded schedule for the Hornets, the first of three games in four nights. The Hornets were scheduled to fly to Tampa after the game to meet with the Toronto Raptors on Thursday and Saturday. The Raptors are playing home games in Florida this season due to travel restrictions in and outside Canada during the pandemic.
The Hornets started slowly offensive - which was a habit for the starting unit - and didn't really get any better during the rest of the first half.
Charlotte's 43 points corresponded to a season low for half of this season. Terry Rozier was the only effective offensive player for the Hornets that half with 13 points on 5-of-9.
As a group, the Hornets shot 35% off the field and made seven turnovers in the first half. They didn't get to 30 points until there were 3 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter.
Mavs roster juggling
Dallas hadn't played or practiced in three days after COVID-19 issues resulted in five players being out for health and safety logs.
However, they got back 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porziingis, who missed Dallas' first nine games that season while recovering from knee surgery. Porzingis scored 10 points in the first half and the Mavericks relentlessly attacked the rim - better than the Hornets in the 28-14 lane.
This LaMelo initial question
When coach James Borrego was asked before the game if the line-up had changed, he explained why rookie LaMelo Ball is not yet a starter.
“This is where we started the season: We got him off the bench. I'm comfortable with that right now, ”said Borrego. "With him as a starter, we will obviously look different one day ...
"When we get to that point we will adjust, but for now this is working for us and I think it's best for LaMelo and our team."
The Hornets did a great job in Dallas two weeks ago picking up the candidate for Most Valuable Player, Doncic, scooping him 12 points on a Hornets Road blowout.
No luck on Wednesday: Doncic scored or assisted in 14 of Dallas’s 24 baskets in the first half to build a lead of up to 18 points.
Doncic and Ball share a versatility that includes rebounding. Ball entered this game three games in a row with 10 or more rebounds. Doncic was the last rookie to do that two seasons ago.
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