Hornets 102, Bucks 81

Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez had spoken recently about the need

to justify their new leadership roles with the young New Orleans

Hornets by exerting the kind of feisty effort that would energize

their slumping squad.

That talk became reality on Monday night.

Anderson scored 22 points, Lopez tied a season high with 21 and

New Orleans won for only the second time in 11 games, 102-81 over

the Milwaukee Bucks.

”We needed an effort game and we needed to prove to ourselves

that when we play like that we can beat a team by a big margin,”

said Anderson, who like Lopez was a young role player on his former

team before coming to New Orleans last summer in a trade. ”We

needed a win like that at home, too. That was a big win in a lot of

ways. It sparks our confidence.”

Lopez shot 8 of 10 from the field and made all five free throws

he attempted. He also scored 11 straight points during a pivotal

13-0 run in the third quarter that gave New Orleans the lead for


”It’s something we definitely talked about, being aggressive,

but talk is cheap and what really counts is we went out there and

did it,” Lopez said.

Jason Smith added 12 points and Greivis Vasquez had 11 for the

Hornets, who shot 52.4 percent (43 of 82) from the field.

Brandon Jennings hit five 3-pointers and finished with 25

points. Monta Ellis added 17 for Milwaukee, which shot 38.2 percent

(29 of 76).

Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders blocked seven shots and the Bucks

outrebounded the Hornets 40-37. But that was not nearly enough to

keep pace with a New Orleans squad that broke loose for one of its

best performances of the season, despite being without top overall

draft pick Anthony Davis (left ankle), who missed his eighth

straight game.

”We just could not stop them,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said.

”We thought at some point someone would stop someone, but we just

couldn’t get a stop and build some momentum.”

The Bucks had 19 offensive rebounds, but because of poor

shooting, they finished with fewer second-chance points (20) than

the Hornets (23). New Orleans also outscored Milwaukee in the

paint, 48-34.

”When we’re really moving the ball around, we’re really hard to

guard. When we start dribbling too much, we get in trouble,”

Skiles said. ”It seemed like we dribbled into crowds tonight and

had trouble getting out of crowds, turned it over, they went down

and made shots.”

Indeed, the Hornets converted 16 Bucks turnovers into 27


”When we defend like that, it gives us a chance to shoot easy

buckets and that is how you get close to 50 percent (shooting),”

Hornets coach Monty Williams said. ”You can play against anybody

if you play hard and defend. We were fortunate enough to get that


Milwaukee had a 60-58 lead when Lopez began to take over. He hit

a jumper at the shot-clock buzzer that was later disallowed, but it

nonetheless seemed to get him in rhythm.

Soon after, Al-Farouq Aminu converted a fast-break dunk that did

count, igniting a 13-0 in which Lopez scored the final 11 points on

three inside baskets. He had a three-point play along with a jumper

and a pair of free throws.

”That was huge. That little run made that game for us. It was a

make-or-break situation,” Anderson said of Lopez. ”To have him

kind of really step up and make some huge plays really sparked the

energy and the effort for the rest of the game.”

That spurt gave New Orleans a 71-60 lead, and Anderson added a

couple of jumpers and a layup late in the period to help the

Hornets maintain a 77-67 advantage heading into the fourth


The lead grew as large as 22 points in the final quarter as even

New Orleans’ reserves shot well. Lance Thomas and Brian Roberts

each finished with 10 points.

New Orleans led by as many as 10 points in the first half after

back-to-back 3s by Anderson and Aminu made it 43-33, but Jennings,

who had 15 in the first half, helped the Bucks trim New Orleans’

lead. Ellis then pulled Milwaukee to 53-50 at halftime with a

27-foot bank shot that he attempted at the horn after his attempted

pass to the right sideline deflected back to him off of Smith’s


NOTES: Milwaukee F Mike Dunleavy returned to the lineup in a

reserve role after missing one game with left knee soreness. He had

six points in 20 minutes. … Skiles opted for a starting

frontcourt of C Ekpe Udoh, F John Henson and swingman Marquis

Daniels. They combined for 11 points and 11 rebounds. … In his

second game back from offseason right knee surgery, Luc Mbah Moute

had seven points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes. … The Hornets

entered the game shooting 44 percent for the season. … New

Orleans was 5 of 12 on 3-pointers. … Vasquez narrowly missed a

double-double with nine assists. … The Hornets made all 11 of

their free throws.