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Mavericks start fast, beat Hornets as Rivers sprains ankle

Associated Press

10/22/2012 11:40:45 PM

DALLAS -- O.J. Mayo scored 13 points, rookie Jae Crowder added 12 and the Dallas Mavericks beat the New Orleans Hornets 87-74 on Monday night.

The Mavericks were without All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery) and centre Chris Kaman (right calf strain).

Dallas jumped out to a 13-2 lead and stretched the lead to 20 in the second half.

Top overall pick Anthony Davis grabbed 17 rebounds, and Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez each had 14 points for New Orleans, which never led in the game.

Hornets rookie guard Austin Rivers left the game in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle. The team said Rivers had X-rays and those came back negative.

The Hornets were again without guard Eric Gordon, who hasn't played in the preseason because of a sore right knee.

Nowitzki had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday and could miss up to six weeks. Kaman missed his second straight game.

Crowder, a second-round selection from Marquette, started his second straight game in place of Nowitzki. He shot 3 of 8 with four rebounds and four assists.

The Hornets missed 18 of 22 shots in the first quarter. They finished 28 of 84 shooting, 33.3 per cent.

New Orleans has struggled offensively in losing its last three preseason games, averaging just over 72 points and shooting a combined 33 per cent from the floor.

After slow starts in their last two preseason outings, the Mavericks jumped out to a 13-2 just over four minutes into the game.

The Mavericks led 25-10 after the first quarter and pushed the advantage up to 18 early in the second half.

After New Orleans trimmed the deficit to 56-46, Dallas scored the next 10 points.

Brandan Wright opened the run with a three-point play and Rodrigue Beaubois hit a pair of free throws to make it 66-46 with 1:06 left in the third.

Beaubois, who finished with 12 points, was playing in his second game since returning from a sprained right ankle. Vince Carter chipped in with 11 points for the Mavericks.

Lopez added 11 rebounds and Al-Farouq Aminu scored 10 points off the bench.

Hornets centre Jason Smith missed his fifth straight game with shoulder and back soreness.