Mavericks 104, Hornets 100

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- Vince Carter's three-point shot with 6.5 seconds remaining helped lead the Dallas Mavericks a 104-100 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night
Carter's trey gave the Mavericks a 102-100 lead and, following a Hornets turnover on the inbounds pass, Darren Collison made a pair of free throws.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points and Carter 22 in leading the Mavericks to their third consecutive win. Elton Brand added 13 points, Collison 11 and O.J. Mayo and Shawn Marion 10 each for the Mavericks, who are 6-2 in February.
Eric Gordon led the Hornets with 23 points but was held to three in the second half. Jason Smith came off the bench to score 22 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter for the Hornets, who lost their third consecutive game.
Ryan Anderson had 20 points and Anthony Davis 10 for New Orleans. Davis sprained his right knee in the third quarter and did not return.
Anderson's three-pointer with 55.6 seconds remaining gave New Orleans a 100-96 lead, but a Mike James trey cut the lead to 100-99.
The Hornets held Dallas to 18 points in the second quarter and closed the half on a 25-13 run to erase what had been a seven-point deficit. With the Hornets trailing 40-33 early in the second quarter, Davis came off the bench and ignited the rally on a jam to bring the Hornets to within 40-35. Another Davis jam off of an Austin Rivers pass reduced the Dallas lead to 42-39 with 7:37 left in the half.
Al-Farouq Aminu's dunk off a Gordon assist gave the Hornets their first lead at 43-42 with 5:23 left in the half.
A pair of Davis free throws gave the Hornets their biggest lead of the half, 56-49, with 1:27 left.
Notes: Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle lists New Orleans Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez is the favorite to win the NBA's Most Improved Player award. Vasquez, a third-year player, entered the game averaging 13.9 points. 9.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds, which is nearly twice his previous career averages. He also has a league-high 21 double-doubles. "I think (Vasquez) will win the award just because of how he has picked up his game as an everyday starter," Carlisle said. "A lot of people didn't think he would be able to do what he has been doing. He has the ability to deliver the ball to guys on time and on target.". . . Dallas has a 6-2 record in February. . .Mavericks center Chris Kaman did not play because of a concussion. Carlisle said Kaman was expected to practice Saturday. . .The Hornets have lost two consecutive games after winning four out of five going into the All-Star break.

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