PJ Washington scored 28 points and Gordon Hayward had 25 as the short-handed Charlotte Hornets dealt a devastating blow to the host Dallas Mavericks’ postseason hopes by winning 117-109 on Friday night.
The Hornets (24-51), who had lost five of their previous six games, shot 48.3 percent from the field to shake off recent offensive doldrums. They played without starting guards Terry Rozier (foot) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (shoulder) because of injuries sustained a night earlier in a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Charlotte received a boost from the return of rookie center Mark Williams, who missed time with a thumb injury but provided 13 points and eight rebounds. Dennis Smith Jr. (illness), who also left Thursday night’s game, had 13 points and nine assists.
Luka Doncic scored 34 points to go with 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Mavericks (36-38), who lost back-to-back home games and three straight overall as they try to pull into the Western Conference playoff scene.
Guard Kyrie Irving was back after missing Wednesday night’s loss to Golden State with a foot injury, supplying 18 points. Dwight Powell and Christian Wood had 14 points each.
The teams meet again Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.
Svi Mykhailiuk made his first start of the season for the Hornets and scored 13 points, JT Thor came off the bench for 12 points and Nick Richards provided 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Washington shot 11-for-22 and Hayward was 9-for-15 to boost the team’s shooting percentage.
Doncic made only two of nine shots from 3-point range.
The Mavericks cut their deficit to 97-96 on Jaden Hardy’s layup, only to see the Hornets score 10 unanswered points.
Yet Dallas was within 107-101 with more than four minutes to play. But Mykhailiuk drained a 3-pointer and Richards scored at the rim to help the Hornets get back on track, and they extended the lead to 114-103.
The Hornets used a big first half for a 69-55 halftime advantage.