How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks rallied from a double-digit deficit and down 90-83 midway through the fourth quarter with a barrage of 3-pointers when they couldn’t find the mark from downtown for the first three quarters.
The teams combined for 11 3-pointers in the final period, with the Mavs hitting six, including a pair from Jason Terry, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter for a game-high 26. He started the game 2-of-11 from the field, but stayed with it and became the primary reason the Mavs won, 98-95, to hand the Hornets their first loss in nine games this season.
Dallas got off to another fast start, hitting its first four shots and scooting to a 20-12 lead. Dirk Nowitzki (25 points) and Terry combined for 16 points in the quarter, but poor 3-point shooting (1-of-6 in the opening period) helped the initially cold-shooting Hornets claw to within 27-24 at the end of one.
And then that Hornets defense that’s becoming a familiar refrain took charge. The Mavs shot 55 percent in the first quarter before turnovers and awful shooting from the 3-point arc helped New Orleans take control.
And then came the wild fourth quarter. Jason Kidd hit consecutive 3-pointers. Dirk buried a 3-pointer to tie it at 90-90 after a crazy sequence in which the Mavs got off three shots and Nowitzki’s game-tying shot came on his second of the possession.
While New Orleans’ defense stepped up in the middle portion of the game, the Mavs’ steady defense took charge in the fourth, holding the Hornets to 19 points, and just five points in the final 5:46. New Orleans went five consecutive possessions without scoring. Chris Paul, who had 20 points at halftime, finished with 22. For much of the fourth quarter, Paul was hounded by Barea and Paul missed all four his shot attempts.
What it means: The Mavs, playing shorthanded without Roddy Beaubois and Caron Butler, took down the NBA’s lone unbeaten team and can pull even with their Southwest Division rival in the standings with a win at New Orleans on Wednesday night. Since losing at home to Denver on Nov. 6, the Mavs have won three straight at the AAC and improved to 7-2 overall.
Play of the game: With the Mavs down by three, J.J. Barea missed a 3-pointer from corner, but Tyson Chandler got his long arm up and got it out to Nowitzki, who missed a jumper. The rebound came right back to him and he fired up a 3-pointer and it went down for his only 3-pointer of the game to tie at 90-90 with 3:20 left.
Stat of the night: Dallas just couldn’t stay away from the 3-point shot and in the end it paid off. The Mavs were 1-of-6 in the first quarter, 2-of-5 in the second, 2-of-7 in the third and then 6-of-9 in the fourth for a very satisfying 11-of-27 (40.7 percent) for the game.