Hornets coach James Borrego sang Journey so his players wouldn’t stop believing vs. Mavs
The team looked defeated and most of the guys had their heads down. However, Hornets head coach James Borrego found a way to motivate his players to push through in possibly the most uncanny way possible.
According to Roderick Boone of The Athletic, Borrego took a cue from the American Airlines Center DJ and started singing “Don’t Stop Believin'” in the huddle to ease the tension of his players down the stretch.
The Hornets’ starting backcourt duo of Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier admitted it caught them off guard but ultimately helped:
“Man, caught me off guard,” Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham said. “He came in talking about the song. I had no idea what he was talking about at first. But it was definitely funny and confusing at the same time.”
“I definitely think it kind of loosed us up a little bit. They were going on a little run and he came in the huddle and said that. Some guys kind of laughed about it, some guys were confused. But it definitely took a little bit of the tension out of the air.”
“I think it kind of threw us off guard,” Hornets guard Terry Rozier said. “But I’m pretty sure it was to lift us up. We were down at the time, we called a timeout. I think he felt our heads were down so it was definitely a laugh that we all needed. It was crazy. I’ve never seen that before. It was funny.”
It’s safe to say the strategy was pure gold, as the Hornets eventually found a way to salvage their blown lead by going on a 6-0 run at the end of the fourth quarter to force overtime.
Devonte’ Graham, Terry Rozier, and PJ Washington all made key plays down the stretch in both regulation and overtime to help the Hornets overcome a surging Mavericks squad led by Luka Doncic. The trio combined for 75 points, with Rozier putting in 29, Graham dropping 27, and Washington chipping in 19.