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(Wednesday, April 17th)
Final Score: Dallas 99, New Orleans 87
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Darren Collison poured in 25 points off the bench as the Dallas Mavericks ended the season on a high note with a 99-87 victory over the New Orleans Hornets at American Airlines Center.
Collison got 10-of-15 shots to fall through in the contest for Dallas, which finished an even 41-41 on the season but will miss out on the playoffs for the first time since the 1999-2000 campaign.
"We should never have been in this position in the first place," Shawn Marion, who tallied 15 points and seven rebounds, said. "But it is what it is and we never gave up and we ended the season .500 so that's definitely a positive."
Dirk Nowitzki added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Mavericks.
All five starters scored in double figures for New Orleans, which ended its final season as the Hornets at just 27-55. It was announced in January that after this season they would no longer be known as the Hornets but as the Pelicans.
"We (have) got a lot of work to do," New Orleans head coach Monty Williams said. "We have to get some guys playing better because no matter how you slice it we can't come back the same way."
Al-Farouq Aminu dropped in 16 points to go with a career-high 20 rebounds for the Hornets. Eric Gordon added 16 points, Robin Lopez also had a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds) while Brian Roberts and Ryan Anderson each chipped in 13 points.
The Hornets lost despite holding a healthy 58-37 advantage on the boards.
Despite the first-quarter efforts of Aminu, who ripped down 14 rebounds in the first 12 minutes alone, the Hornets trailed 19-18 at the end of the period.
The Hornets managed to connect on just 36.4 percent of their shots from the floor and turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter. Dallas did not commit a single turnover and rattled in a pair of 3-pointers which made up for its 31.8 percent shooting effort.
A jump shot from Nowitzki with 5:16 remaining in the second quarter had Dallas out to its largest lead, 38-29, of the first half. The Hornets would cut their deficit to three on three different occasions before the half but a pair of jumpers and a free-throw from Nowitzki in the final minute pushed the Mavericks to a 47-39 lead at the break.
Dallas connected on 59.1 percent of its shots from the floor in the second quarter as Collison and Nowitzki combined for 15 points. Gordon carried the Hornets in the frame with 10 points.
Nowitzki picked up right where he left off after halftime by hitting 4-of-5 shots from the field en route to nine points in the third quarter. Powered by Nowitzki's exploits the Mavericks would lead by as many as 16 points in the period and take a 75-64 advantage into the fourth quarter.
A putback layup from Lopez early on in the fourth quarter brought the Hornets' to within six, 77-71. However the Mavericks erupted from there with an 18-4 run over the next five minutes to essentially put the game out of reach.
Dallas' 12-year streak in the playoffs that ended on Wednesday was the second- longest active streak behind San Antonio which extended its streak to 16 seasons this year ... Aminu had 17 of his 20 rebounds in the first half ... Dallas shot 51.2 percent from the floor and forced 19 turnovers from the Hornets ... New Orleans outscored Dallas 21-9 from the free-throw line.
04/17 23:45:51 ET
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