A strong second-half performance powered the Charlotte Hornets to a win in their preseason finale as they defeated the visiting Dallas Mavericks, 111-96, on Friday night.
Nine three-point field goals in the opening 24 minutes of play helped the Hornets enter halftime trailing just 56-54. Charlotte would then take a one-point lead by the end of third before outscoring the Mavericks, 29-15, in the final frame to finish off the victory.
“We wanted to come out and play right from the jump to get our rhythm this last preseason game,” said Hornets center Cody Zeller. “We wanted to come out and treat it like a regular season game with high intensity and execute well. We wanted to do things that would carry into the season.”
Kemba Walker racked up team-high marks in both scoring (18 points) and assists (4) to go along with four rebounds in the victory. Dwight Howard did a little bit of everything with eight points, a preseason-high 12 rebounds (five offensive), three assists and a team-high three steals.
Johnny O’Bryant had a preseason-high 15-point performance while rookies Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon each scored 14 points apiece for Charlotte. Frank Kaminsky (12 points; 4-of-5 from three-point range), Cody Zeller (11 points) and Marvin Williams (11 points) also scored in double digits.
Former-UNC Tar Heel Harrison Barnes led the way for Dallas with a game-high 24 points, five rebounds and two assists. Veteran Dirk Nowitzki chipped in 14 points, a team-high nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and a game-high-tying two blocks.
Charlotte finished the night connecting on 17-of-30 three-point attempts (56.7 percent), while Dallas knocked down 12-of-31 shots from long distance (38.7 percent). The Hornets pulled out the win despite an uncustomary 22 turnovers leading to just 13 points for the Mavericks. Dallas had 15 giveaways leading to 11 Charlotte points.
Nicolas Batum (elbow), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (personal), Michael Carter-Williams (knees), Jeremy Lamb (groin), Treveon Graham (hamstring) and Julyan Stone (hamstring) were all unavailable for Charlotte.
The Hornets will kick off their regular season schedule with a road game against the Detroit Pistons beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Southeast or heard on WFNZ or on the official Charlotte Hornets mobile app.