DALLAS — P.J. Washington Jr. scored 28 points and Gordon Hayward added 25 as the undermanned Charlotte Hornets built a 21-point lead and held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 117-109 on Friday night.
The Hornets, who were eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoff race last week, earned a split of a back-to-back after losing by 19 points on Thursday night at New Orleans and finishing with only seven healthy players.
Charlotte led 114-109 with 20.7 seconds left when Dennis Smith Jr., a former Dallas first-round draftee, hit a 30-foot 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down.
Luka Doncic had 34 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Mavericks, who lost their third straight and for the sixth time in eight games. They dropped two games behind sixth-place Golden State as they seek to earn a spot above the four-team postseason play-in tournament involving the teams that finish seventh through 10th.
Kyrie Irving scored 18 points for Dallas after missing one game with a toe injury. He and Doncic played together for the first time since March 8. The Mavericks are 3-7 with both in the lineup.
Charlotte led 90-69 early in the third quarter before Dallas pulled within 97-96 with 8:30 remaining. Mark Williams’ putback began a 10-0 run for the Hornets.
The Hornets played without their three leading scorers. Terry Rozier (21.1 points per game) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (20.3) were sidelined with injuries suffered early in Thursday’s 19-point loss at New Orleans. LaMelo Ball (23.3) hasn’t played since Feb. 27 and is out for the season because of an ankle injury.
Williams returned to Charlotte’s bench after missing six games with a thumb injury. Dennis Smith Jr. played after leaving Thursday’s game with a non-COVID illness. James Bouknight and Theo Maledon were brought up from the G League. Svi Mykhailiuk made his first start of the season.
Hornets: Are 4-8 in back-to-back finales. … Nick Richards had 10 points and 10 rebounds. … Charlotte built a 45-26 lead a minute into the second period having hit 6 of 10 3-pointers, while Dallas was 0 for 9 behind the arc.
Mavericks: Played the second straight game without Tim Hardaway Jr., their leading 3-point scorer, because of non-COVID illness.
The teams will complete their two-game inter-conference season series at Charlotte on Sunday. ___
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