DALLAS – With no one there to offer much resistance, the Charlotte Hornets totally had their way with the Dallas Mavericks inside the paint Monday night.
The Hornets outscored the Mavs in the paint 54-36, and outrebounded them by a whopping 55-35 margin and went on to claim a 109-101 victory at American Airlines Center. Afterwards, the Mavs were busy shrugging their shoulders after losing yet another player to yet another injury.
Center Andrew Bogut injured his right knee when Hornets center Roy Hibbert collided with him late in the first quarter. Bogut, who was averaged a team-high 10.7 rebounds, hobbled off the court and into the dressing room and never played again.
"We don’t think it’s serious,’’ Carlisle said. "From what I understand it was hyper-extended.
"The X-ray was clean from the information that I got. We’ll probably have more information in a day or so. At this point it appears we dodged a bullet.’’
Bogut’s absence gave the Hornets the freedom to attack the Mavs inside the lane as much as they wanted to. That all-out attack wasn’t pretty from the Mavs’ perspective.
"The thing that’s most disappointing is the rebounding numbers,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "After really going toe-to-toe with Chicago (this past Saturday) and playing even on the boards, we got wiped out tonight by 20, which shouldn’t happen.
"That points to effort, which I don’t like to say about this team, and I got to look at it (on film). That’s not good.’’
Guard Nicolas Batum led the Hornets with a season-high 15 rebounds and forward Michael Kidd-Gilcrist picked off 12 boards. At times, it was as if the Hornets were playing volleyball on the boards.
"I think we can do better than a 20-rebound deficit,’’ Carlisle said. "And I qualify it by saying I’m going to look at the film before I make a for sure statement on it, but that’s just a number that’s unacceptable -- a deficit of 20.
"That’s 20 extra possessions that they get and you don’t get. If you factor in a possible three-to-five point swing on each one of those, it’s a huge difference. We just got to do better, and I know we can.’’
All rebounds aside, the Mavs were outscored 34-23 in the fourth quarter when they were just 9-of-27 from the field. That cold spell – Dallas led 78-75 after three quarters – also led to the Mavs’ undoing.
"We just went cold for whatever reason and we just can’t do that,’’ said Wesley Matthews, who scored 16 points on 5-of-13 shots. "We have to be crazed dogs from the tip to the final buzzer, and that is how we have to play.
"We have been (playing) that way for the last however many games – we showed that identity. That is our identity and we just didn’t do it long enough tonight.’’
The loss dropped the Mavs to 4-16 overall and 1-1 on this four-game home stand which continues Wednesday against Sacramento. It also was a tell-tell sign that this team will have problems winning games – until they get the rest of their injured core players back – unless they give maximum effort for 48 minutes.
"They made some tough shots and then they broke us down a few times,’’ Carlisle said. "They outlasted us – their experience down the stretch was the difference.’’
It was a bitter pill for the Carlisle to digest, and he expressed his disgust in the second half when he was whistled for a technical when he didn’t agree with an officials’ non-call.
"I’m disappointed in the results,’’ Carlisle said. "We did a lot of good things.’’
The Mavs played without Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain), J. J. Barea (left calf strain) and Seth Curry (right knee strain).
Harrison Barnes led the Mavs with 29 points, but was just 1-of-6 from the field with five points in the frantic fourth quarter. Dwight Powell finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, and Jonathan Gibson collected 13 points I only 18 minutes on 5-of-9 shots.
Meanwhile, Deron Williams manufactured his first double-double of the season as he finished with 15 points and 13 assists. That came one game after Williams collected a season-high 15 assists during Saturday’s 107-82 win over the Chicago Bulls.
"He’s doing a good job of distributing the ball,’’ Carlisle said. "I’m very encouraged by how he’s moving, by how he’s playing.
"The shot-making isn’t all there yet, but that’s coming. It’s just a matter of continuing to work into the conditioning and rhythm aspect of it, but he’s playing very well, and I like his effort on defense, too.’’
Carlisle just wants his team as a whole to out up a much bigger fight on the boards. He knows that meant the difference between winning and losing to the Hornets.