The Dallas Mavericks struggled to find their shooting stroke against the Atlanta Hawks, falling 97-82 at the American Airlines Center on Saturday.
Deron Williams totaled seven points, seven rebounds and four assists, while three Mavs reached double-digit scoring in Harrison Barnes (21), Dirk Nowitzki (11) and Devin Harris (11).
The Mavs shot 39 percent from the floor and 25 percent (9-of-36) from deep, while their visitors shot 41 and 50 (11-of-22) percent, respectively.
After a first half that featured five ties and five lead changes, the Hawks used the 3-ball to separate themselves in the second half.
“It was a game where we just couldn’t quite get over the hump,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I mean, we had the lead in the first half. But once they got the lead, it was uphill. We’ve got to do everything possible to play from in front.”
Deron sparked Dallas’ offense in the first quarter, assisting on the team’s first two field goals — a hook shot by Andrew Bogut (2 points, 11 rebounds) and a 25-footer by Wesley Matthews (9 points, 4 rebounds) — for a 5-3 advantage.
Neither side led by more than two possessions the rest of the half, as the Hawks carried a 45-42 edge into the break.
“We got off to a good start at the beginning of the game,” Carlisle said, “and I thought we had an OK start in the second half.”
Schroder quickly drained a pair of triples to start off the third quarter, 51-42, but the Mavs kept their composure, scoring the next nine point to knot it at 51. Barnes sparked the run with a fadeaway J before draining a three-pointer, thanks to a pass from D-Will.
“At the beginning of the third, they got loose for a couple of shots. But it was all right,” Nowitzki said. “What we don’t want to do is we’re down eight or 10 and have to fight back, obviously. But we were right there, and we put ourselves in position to play well with some of our guys off the bench. It just unfortunately wasn’t good enough.”
Another run ensued — this time, Hardaway and Paul Millsap combined to score 11 of the next 13 points to push the ATL lead back to nine, 62-53, before taking a 66-59 edge into the final frame.
The Mavericks pulled as close at two, 67-66, at the 9:37 mark, but the Hawks strung together 10 straight to take their first double-digit lead, 79-67. Dwight Howard sparked the surge with a dunk, while Kent Bazemore and Hardaway highlighted it with a pair of triples.
Deron intervened with a driving layup before stepping back for a jumper to bring the team back within single digits, 80-71, with about six minutes remaining. That was the closest the Mavs came to flipping the lead, as the Hawks took off from there to win their fifth straight.
Deron and the Mavs (11-26) return to the hardwood on Monday, Jan. 9 to face the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tipoff from the Target Center is set for 7 p.m. CT.
The Timberwolves (11-26) look to snap a four-game skid after most recently falling to the Utah Jazz on Saturday, 94-92. Zach LaVine poured in a game-high 24 points, while Karl-Anthony Towns grabbed a game-best 15 boards, but the Jazz ended the game on an 11-0 run to complete the comeback.
Andrew Wiggins (22.1ppg, 4.2rpg), Towns (21.4ppg, 11.6rpg, 1.4bpg) and LaVine (20.8ppg), 3.1apg) lead Minnesota in production.