Ball, Hornets dominate Mavs’ home opener in 118-99 win

DALLAS (AP) — LaMelo Ball scored 22 points, Miles Bridges had 20 points and a career-high 16 rebounds and the Charlotte Hornets blew out Dallas 118-99 in the Mavericks’ home opener yesterday.

Terry Rozier, who scored 18 points, hit a pair of three-pointers early in a 14-0 run to start the second half, giving the Hornets a 25-point lead coming off their first win — over Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets — after an 0-2 start.

Charlotte silenced Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, who are still without European sidekick Kristaps Porzingis as the seven-foot-three Latvian recovers from knee surgery.

Still, Dallas was coming off its first victory after dropping the first two games as well, a 51-point blowout at the Los Angeles Clippers that included an NBA-record halftime lead of 50 points (77-27).

“For us it is just about building and growing,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “We did not have the best training camp. There are a lot of factors there, but I believe now we have found our footing.”

The Hornets were up 68-57 at the break and outscored Dallas 30-12 in the third quarter. Doncic was limited to 12 points for the game and sat the fourth with the game out of reach while Tim Hardaway Jr led Dallas with 18 points.

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball attempts a shot as Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Richardson defends. PHOTO: AP

“Their game plan was to come out as aggressively and as physically as they could and try to take any rhythm out of our game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “They succeeded on some levels. It is clear Luka does not have his rhythm yet.”

Charlotte went five of 10 from three-point range in the third while the Mavericks missed their first nine after the break from long range, including three in one possession, and finished the quarter one of 15 from beyond the arc. Dallas was 11 of 41 for the game.

Ball, the third overall pick in the draft, finished seven of 10 from the field, including four of five from deep and made all four free throws to easily beat the high from his first three games of 13 points. The 19-year-old had eight rebounds and five assists.

“He is growing up right before our eyes,” Bridges said. “As long as he is playing his game and having fun, we just want to focus on the defensive end.”

Devonte Graham’s three-pointer gave the Hornets their first 25-point lead, and Jalen McDaniels made it 90-60 midway through the third with an alley-oop layup.

The Hornets had no trouble with a Western Conference playoff qualifier from last season despite four of 16 shooting from Gordon Hayward, who scored 11 points.

TIP-INS

Hornets: Washington, McDaniels and centre Bismack Biyombo had little trouble getting good looks close to the rim, combining to go 11 of 18 from the field.

Washington scored 11 points, McDaniels 10 and Biyombo nine. … Sixteen of Bridges’ rebounds were on the defensive end.

Mavericks: Porzingis went through his first full workout Tuesday after Dallas returned from its season-opening three-game trip.

Carlisle said Porzingis is still on track for a January debut. … Dallas shot 30 per cent in the second half after being right at 50 per cent at halftime.

Doncic backup Jalen Brunson scored 16 points, and Maxi Kleber had 12 — all on first-quarter three-pointers.