Although his name was mentioned in various trade rumors leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon returned to work in familiar surroundings Friday night.

Staying put at least for the rest of the season, Gordon was back trying to help his team pull out a win. But not even a 23-point performance from Gordon could prevent the Hornets from folding down the stretch again leading to a heartbreaking 104-100 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in front of 16,538 at the New Orleans Arena.

The Hornets (19-37) lost their third consecutive game since coming back off the All-Star break. The Hornets haven’t found the momentum that led them heading into break winning four of five games.

"It takes maybe a year or two for these young guys to really understand these late-game situations,’’ said Gordon, who scored 20 points in the first half but committed four turnovers and went one-of-nine in the second half. "It’s going to happen over time and not over night. Those guys are just learning. It’s always tough, but I thought we played a pretty good game overall. They just hit two tough shots towards the end and turned the ball over a little bit toward the end of the game.’’

Similar to Wednesday night’s 105-100 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers when the Hornets allowed second-year guard Kyrie Irving to take over matters in the fourth quarter when he scored 20 of his 35 points, the Hornets’ defensive lapses came at the wrong time.