NBA

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Suns-Hornets Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The post-Chris Paul era is off to a rousing start for the New Orleans Hornets, and they haven't even had their starting backcourt together for a game.

That could happen Friday night if Eric Gordon returns to join Jarrett Jack, coming off a strong first game replacing Paul as the starting point guard, when the undefeated Hornets face the visiting Phoenix Suns for the second time in five days.

"We have a lot of guys on this team that are hungry," Jack said. "A lot of guys want to prove themselves - a lot of capable guys."

One of them is Gordon, part of the deal that sent Paul to the Clippers. Gordon led New Orleans (2-0) to victory at Phoenix in his debut, scoring 20 points and hitting the decisive 20-footer with 4.2 seconds left in an 85-84 win Monday. However, he bruised his knee late in the game, and the resulting swelling prompted the team's medical staff to keep him out of Wednesday's home opener against Boston.

Jack stepped up with 21 points and nine assists as the Hornets rolled to a 97-78 victory. Acquired last season to back up Paul, Jack missed Monday's win due to a one-game league suspension stemming from a drunk-driving arrest.

"We didn't have Eric, so we needed to find those 20 points somewhere," coach Monty Williams said. "Jarrett Jack played very well. He gave us a calming effect. ... He's our leader and we'll need him to play like that all year."

Not much was expected of New Orleans following an offseason that saw Paul get traded and David West sign with Indiana. That left the Hornets without their top scorers from last season's team, which started 8-0 and went on to make the playoffs.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers explained why the Hornets could remain dangerous.

"This team's going to play with a chip on its shoulder the entire year," he said. "If I was a player and all I heard was, 'If you lose Chris Paul it's be the demise of the franchise,' that would make we want to prove a lot of people wrong."

It's possible Gordon could return Friday after practicing Wednesday but being forced to sit out that night's game mostly as a precaution.

"The (doctors), when they re-evaluated him after shootaround, they felt like this was a situation where you need to let this calm down before it turns into a two- to three-week thing," Williams said. "Right now it's day-to-day."

Seeing Gordon again surely wouldn't help the Suns, who already couldn't win at home against a Hornets team missing Jack. Things only got worse for Phoenix (0-2) on Wednesday, when it trailed by 14 at halftime and allowed the first 19 points after the break during a 103-83 home loss to Philadelphia.

The Suns have yet to crack 85 points, a number they reached all but three times last season when they finished fourth in the league at 105.0 per game.

Their starting five is the same as it was at the end of last season - that hadn't happened since 1990-91 - but that unit of Steve Nash, Jared Dudley, Grant Hill, Channing Frye and Marcin Gortat has combined to shoot 30.9 percent and average 34.5 points.

"Collectively we are not in a good rhythm," Hill said. "That is something usually we are pretty good at."

The Suns are off to their worst start since opening 0-13 in 1996-97.

"Obviously it was not what we anticipated," coach Alvin Gentry said. "... You lose those two games (at home) and it puts you behind the eight ball right away."

Tagged: Pelicans, Clippers, Suns, Chris Paul, Jarrett Jack, Eric Gordon

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..