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Mavs fall in Vegas playoff round

LAS VEGAS -- The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Charlotte Hornets in the team's opening round game of the Las Vegas Summer League playoffs. Charlotte had lost its first three games in the preliminary round.

How it happened: Dallas fell behind by as many as 17 points in the first half but was able to tie the score at 77-77 with 3:19 left in the fourth quarter. The Mavs regained the lead with just over two minutes to go, but Gal Mekel split a pair of free throws with 7.9 seconds left. Hornets guard Robert Nelson hit a contested 3-point basket at the buzzer for the win. It appeared that Nelson had a foot on the line, but instant replay is not used during the summer league.

Japanese guard Yuki Togashi kept the team afloat in the first half with his eight points. The 5-foot-8 guard was an irritant on defense and did a nice job creating offense for himself and others. He finished the game with 12 points, but his scoring productivity in the first half proved to be instrumental in the comeback attempt.

Ricky Ledo struggled from the field as he went just 2-of-16 for only nine points. He never could gain any traction with his shot in the game.

Mavs forward Ivan Johnson was ejected from the game during the third quarter. He got tangled with a Hornets player and tripped and fell. He argued the call, was given a technical foul and ejected. It's not known if he will be available for the team's next game.

The Hornets were led by rookie P.J. Hairston as he scored 18 points in the victory. The 26th pick of this year's draft spent time with the Texas Legends, Dallas' D-League affiliate in Frisco, last season.

What it means: Dallas will now move on to the consolation bracket of the tournament. The Mavs will face the Phoenix Suns on Friday at 1 p.m. PT. That will be their final game in Las Vegas.

Mavs player of the game: Mekel asserted himself as Dallas' offense struggled to generate baskets. He finished with 17 points, five rebounds and six assists. Mekel will not play in the team's finale as he will head back to Israel to be back with his family and prep to play with the Israeli national team.

Stat of the day: Dallas struggled from the field, starting the game missing nine of its first 12 shots. The Mavs' execution ultimately got them into a major deficit in the first half. They finished the game shooting just 36.8 percent from the field.