- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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How it happened: The Mavericks let the Western Conference’s worst team rally from a double-digit deficit.
The game was decided in overtime, in which the Mavs are incapable of winning this season, but it never should have gotten to that point. The Mavs let an 11-point lead evaporate in the second half.
Dallas simply couldn’t stop Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez in the fourth quarter. He scored 15 of his 25 points and dished out four of his nine assists in that frame. New Orleans took its first lead since the first quarter on Vasquez’s driving layup with 10:18 remaining in regulation, a bucket that capped a 10-0 Hornets run.
New Orleans shooting guard Eric Gordon took over in overtime, in which he had eight of his 14 points, including the game-winning and-1 jumper with seconds remaining.
Vince Carter had a wide-open look at a corner 3 at the buzzer, but he couldn’t knock it down.
Dirk Nowitzki had season highs of 20 points and 34 minutes in his first start of the year, but he split a pair of free throws with 18 seconds remaining in regulation, when hitting both would have given the Mavs a lead.
What it means: Maybe this is rock bottom for this season. The Mavs (13-21) have lost eight of their past nine games and 11 of their past 13. For most of that stretch, the Mavs faced strong competition. That wasn’t the case during this debacle at home against a New Orleans team that improved to 8-25.
Play of the game: Gordon made Darren Collison pay for biting on a pump fake. After a crossover dribble near the top of the key, Gordon pump-faked Collison off his feet, drew contact and banked in a tiebreaking, and-1 18-footer to give the Hornets the lead for good with 4.7 seconds remaining.
Stat of the night: The Mavs tied an NBA record with their 10th consecutive overtime loss, joining Atlanta, Golden State and Minnesota in that dubious club. Dallas dropped to 0-7 in overtime games this season.