DALLAS -- The boos started the second his 6-foot-11 frame was the last one to emerge from the Clippers' tunnel for pregame warmups.

They continued every time he touched the ball, even pregame when he rebounded for teammates in layup lines. When he airballed a free throw, the crowd obliged him with an "air-ball" chant.

The night ended with the more than 19,000 in attendance chanting once again. "De-An-dre Sucks! De-An-dre sucks!" rained down while the Mavericks iced an emotional, thrilling 118-108 win at the free-throw line. 

There are 15 players on all 30 NBA rosters. They'll play 82 regular-season games this season, a total of 36,900 nights at the office.

Nobody will have another all season like the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan stomached on Wednesday.

"I thought it was going to be a lot worse, honestly," Jordan said, wearing a long, black trench coat and sipping on a fresh, cold green bottle of carbonated San Pellegrino water.

* * *

July 3, Jordan was heading to Dallas after verbally agreeing to a four-year, $80 million deal with the Mavericks, leaving Los Angeles after seven seasons as a Clipper, cracking the NBA All-Defensive Team in what appeared to be his final season in Hollywood.

With the contract not yet signed, Jordan was waffling less than a week later. He met with Doc Rivers and several Clippers teammates, and as the period to actually sign free-agent deals approached, he froze out Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and prospective teammates Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki, who helped woo him back to his home state of Texas. 

An emoji war commenced. (After Wednesday's win, the Mavericks' team account fired off what might be the final shot.)

ESPN's Chris Broussard infamously reported, via sources, that Cuban was driving around Houston, frantically trying to find Jordan's home. Cuban refuted that report and reiterated his stance Wednesday when asked about any lingering frustration about misinformation during the failed free-agency pursuit.

"He's an idiot," Cuban said of Broussard. "I take that back. My sources say he's an idiot."

Dallas struck out on its key free-agent targets, just like it did with Dwight Howard and Chris Paul in 2013 and Carmelo Anthony in 2014.

In the weeks that followed, Parsons called Jordan "scared to take the next step in his career." 

"As a businessman, you give a man your word, you're expected to own up to it," Parsons said Wednesday. "It's water under the bridge to me, but I think it was mishandled a bit. … I think we just felt disrespected with the way he handled it." 

Cuban and Jordan hadn't reconnected since the stunning about-face. 

"He is who we thought he was," Cuban said Wednesday, conducting his customary pregame interview on a Stairmaster.

As media approached, ESPN's promo for the game -- with "Against All Odds" playing in the background -- came on the TV a few feet from Cuban.

"This is the first time I've seen it," Cuban said, dropping silent to watch. He laughed. 

So why, then, if Jordan was who the Mavs "thought he was," did Cuban extend an $80 million paycheck? 

"Because of what we think we can do with players," he said. "We've been able to show a lot that we're able to develop players and get them to add different elements to their game. We thought we could do that with DeAndre." 

Cuban, who says he's saved all the texts between himself and Jordan during the saga and will release them if he ever has a reason to do so, hasn't been shy about criticizing Jordan's handling of his non-departure. He's also been critical of Jordan's game since the soap opera, and that continued Wednesday when he was asked about Dallas employing the "Hack-A-Shack" strategy on Jordan, who infamously struggles from the free throw line. 

"If you can't do something that my 6-year-old can do," Cuban said, "we shouldn't legislate the game around it."

After the game, Jordan stayed silent and looked away when asked for his thoughts on Cuban's handling of the free agency aftermath. 

He also bristled at a question about how he handled the situation. 

"OK, I'm just tired of the same questions. I talked about this three months ago," Jordan said, later adding that he wouldn't do anything differently if he was given a free agency do-over. "I made a decision that was for me. Hopefully, over time, people will understand that." 

And on Cuban's looming threat to release their texts? 

"As long as it's not naked pictures of me, I could [not] care less," he said. 

The environment for Jordan's "return" lived up to the hype. A selection of signs from the crowd, where his free-throw shooting was a common target: 

• 42% Free Throw Shooter; 100% Coward
• The only thing worse than DeAndre Jordan's word is his free throw percentage
• DeAndre needs to grow up - Riley Curry

The hate -- albeit mostly harmless sports hate -- flowed for all 48 minutes Wednesday, but in the midst of it all was the woman who loves Jordan most: His mom, Kimberly Jordan-Williams. 

"It's comical, because the season has already begun," she told Sports on Earth at halftime. "They've just got to move on and play basketball."

Jordan-Williams was part of a small contingent of L.A. fans behind the Clippers bench, a brave few who came to the American Airlines Center with plans to support Jordan. She wore a white shirt with a Clippers logo, but nothing to identify herself at Jordan's mother. 

She woke up this morning and, like the rest of Dallas, saw Jordan's face on the front page of the Dallas Morning News -- complete with devil horns. 

"I can laugh at it. There's always three sides to every story. This side, that side and the truth," Jordan-Williams said. "The picture of him with the devil horns? That's funny to me. They have not let it go, and I think that's funny." 

Straight across from her, a few fans held a large banner with a pair of black flip-flops taped to the front. 

"An early Christmas gift for Mr. Jordan?" it read.

"I thought that was cute," Jordan-Williams said with a chuckle. 

When Jordan slammed down an alley-oop early in the first quarter, he stared up into Jordan-Williams' section. 

Hack-A-DeAndre did make an appearance. Jordan, who finished a game-low minus-23 when he was on the floor, went 3-for-9 from the free-throw line, including 1-for-6 in the fourth quarter before Rivers benched him with 4:11 to play. He didn't return until the 1:23 mark.

On his way off the court, Rivers gestured to two Mavs fans sitting courtside. 

"I hope you're happy now," he yelled, and flashed a smile.

"I thought the crowd was as polite as they could be," Rivers said. "I had some fun with guys. I like this environment. I think it's good for everybody. I think it's good for the league. I didn't think anything was disrespectful."

It was a remarkable night in an NBA regular season that, with 2,460 games a year, is full of unremarkable moments.

So why was the crowd's energy far above the norm?

"I mean, it's Veteran's Day," Jordan said.