Hornets drop Wizards to 0-25 on road
NEW ORLEANS (AP)
Smith was starting for center Emeka Okafor, whose left oblique muscle strain kept him out for the first time in 306 games. While the Hornets were without a starter averaging a double-double in points and rebounds, the 7-foot Smith, normally a reserve power forward, looked comfortable filling in and hit his first nine shots.
Nick Young scored 30 points for Washington, which trailed by double digits most of the second half in losing its sixth straight overall.
Andray Blatche had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Kirk Hinrich added 10 points for the Wizards, who are four road losses from matching the 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks' NBA worst 0-29 start on the road.
The Hornets led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter when David Andersen hit a jumper. The Wizards didn't fold, though, responding with a quick 7-0 spurt capped by Hinrich's layup as he was fouled to make it 85-75 with more than half the quarter left.
New Orleans then missed on its next possession, but Willie Green, who had 11 points, stole the ball from Hinrich and went the other way for a fastbreak layup. New Orleans was then able maintain a double-digit lead until less than a minute remained.
David West and Marcus Thornton both scored 10 points for New Orleans, which outshot Washington 48.6 percent (35 of 72) to 45.8 percent (33 of 72) and outrebounded the Wizards 41-34.
Smith, who played 25 minutes, scored the Hornets' first three baskets on a tip-in and two dunks. He had 10 of the Hornets' first 16 points less than 7 minutes into the game.
However, Smith was called for his second foul before the quarter ended, and Hornets coach Monty Williams replaced him with Aaron Gray, who had not played since spraining his left ankle in a shootaround on Jan. 21.
Washington soon took its first lead when JaVale McGee corralled Young's alley-oop lob with one hand and jammed it as he was being fouled by Gray. Young later hit one of his four 3s to give him 11 points for the quarter and Washington a 26-22 lead.
Paul hit a technical free throw and a 3 during a four-point possession, then set up Ariza's transition 3 at the first quarter horn to highlight a 9-0 run capped by Green's driving floater early in the second quarter.
Soon after Smith returned in the second quarter, he scored inside as he was fouled, giving him what was then a career-high 15 points in only 10 minutes of action.
Paul scored the Hornets' last seven points of the half, closing with a floater as he was fouled by rookie John Wall to put New Orleans up 55-44.
Notes: Gray played 15 minutes, hitting his only two shots and grabbing eight rebounds. ... The second-worst road start in NBA history belongs to the 1974-75 New Orleans Jazz, who opened 0-28 away from the Big Easy. ... Rashard Lewis of the Wizards fouled out with 4:25 left. ... Smith's nine consecutive field goals were two short of a team record. Dell Curry and Anthony Mason both made 11 straight when they played for the Hornets and Mason once went 11 of 11 for a whole game.