Hornets 93, Suns 84
After two days of what New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams
labeled ”training camp” style practices, the players appeared
eager to return to the floor.
Perhaps that’s because the game was easier than Williams’
grueling sessions, which were designed to refocus the Hornets
following four consecutive losses.
Apparently, the message was received.
Greivis Vasquez scored 19 points and Al-Farouq Aminu added 16
points and 11 rebounds to lead New Orleans to a 93-84 victory over
the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
Vasquez, who scored 15 points in the first half, was 8 of 9 from
the field and had 12 assists in his 19th double-double of the
Ryan Anderson added 14 points and Robin Lopez 11 for the
Hornets, who were making a rare appearance in New Orleans Arena.
Because of the Super Bowl this past week, the Hornets were playing
only their second home game in the past eight and fourth in the
”One of the primary focuses of the two practices on Monday and
Tuesday was just our aggressiveness,” Lopez said. ”We want to
make sure we went out there and beat up on each other, and it was
nice to see some carry-over.”
Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley each scored 14 points for the
Suns, who came in off a win at Memphis on Tuesday night.
Goran Dragic added 13 points, and Luis Scola and Michael Beasley
had 11 apiece for Phoenix. Jermaine O’Neal returned to the Suns’
lineup and scored seven points to go along with three rebounds.
The Suns’ perimeter-based offense struggled, as Phoenix as 35 of
78 from the field and 1 of 15 on 3-point attempts.
”Tough, tough loss for us,” said Suns interim coach Lindsey
Hunter, who is 4-5 after taking over for Alvin Gentry on Jan. 20.
”Not many positives can be taken from the game tonight. Like I
said, I am discouraged but I am still encouraged because I know
where we are going to be and I know how we are going to do
The Hornets trailed 61-60 with 7:09 left in the third quarter,
but with Lopez scoring four points on offensive rebounds off a pair
of misses by Eric Gordon, the Hornets went on a 13-2 run to take a
73-63 lead. Lopez finished the quarter with seven points and
Vasquez had five assists.
”I don’t think I played different than any other game,” said
Vasquez, who had 12 assists and no turnovers for the first time in
”Tonight was just one of those games that was perfect for me,”
he added. ”If Kobe (Bryant) does it or (Steve) Nash or Chris Paul,
they’re the best. Me doing it, I’m nobody yet.”
Phoenix trailed 78-71 after three quarters but cut the Hornets’
lead to two midway through the fourth. Anderson’s 3-pointer and a
layup by Lopez quickly built the lead back to seven.
As he had in the second quarter, Williams sat his starters for
the early part of the fourth quarter.
”When you have two rookies in the backcourt and a 21-year-old
as a small forward, you don’t have a lot of experience,” Williams
said. ”I like the fact they weren’t afraid and the same time we
were getting stops, so it didn’t hurt as bad, We were able to get
our starters back in there and close it out.”
Williams kept his starters on the bench for nearly half of the
second quarter, but Phoenix was unable to build any separation
against the Hornets reserves. The Suns’ 27-26 first-quarter lead
turned into a 37-35 deficit at the 7:31 mark of the second quarter
when Gordon, Vasquez and Davis returned to the lineup.
New Orleans’ bench outscored the Suns’ bench 20-15 in the first
half, but a 24-14 edge in rebounding kept Phoenix close.
The Suns scored 11 second-chance points and held New Orleans to
zero. Scola and Dragic each scored 11 points in the first half.
Gordon was 3 of 14 from the field and finished with nine
”I am still not 100 percent,” said Gordon, who sat out much of
the early season with a knee injury. ”I am battling through
NOTES – Aminu has record double-digit rebounds in 14 games this
season. … The Hornets are back on the road Friday, playing at
Atlanta. … New Orleans committed 13 turnovers after averaging
16.4 in the previous five games.