New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams didn’t get too excited
last month when his team extended the franchise’s best start with a
victory over the Sacramento Kings.
The first-year coach definitely isn’t pleased with how his team
is playing now.
New Orleans looks to snap a season-worst three-game losing
streak Wednesday night when it hosts a slumping Kings team that
could be without Tyreke Evans again.
Needing a victory to tie San Antonio for the league’s best
record at 11-1, New Orleans (14-10) won 75-71 at Sacramento on Nov.
21 despite missing 14 of its first 17 shots and finishing at 32.2
percent from the field. It was the Hornets’ worst shooting effort
in a victory since they made 22 of 72 in a 76-73 win at Houston on
April 1, 2005.
“I don’t think either one of us is going to send this tape to
Springfield (the Basketball Hall of Fame) or any other field,”
Williams said after that game. “At this point in the season I don’t
even look at the standings. I had no idea we would have this kind
of record. Looking at our record, it might be fools’ gold.”
With Williams’ team dropping nine of 12 since that victory, the
Hornets’ record-setting start is seeming more like an anomaly.
New Orleans, which has fallen from first to seventh in the
Western Conference since last month’s victory in Sacramento,
dropped its third straight for the first time this season Monday,
losing 96-84 at Miami.
“We need to get a win so we could see how it feels,” said
All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who is averaging 5.0 assists –
half his career average – during the losing streak.
The Hornets’ schedule, though, could help the club experience
winning more often. Including Wednesday’s matchup, four of New
Orleans’ next seven games are against teams at least 10 games below
The Kings fell to 5-17 on Tuesday with their 16th loss in 18
games, 118-105 at Houston.
Playing without its scoring and assists leader in Evans, who is
questionable Wednesday with mild plantar fasciitis in his left
foot, Sacramento was outscored 31-18 in the second quarter en route
to the team’s sixth straight road loss.
“Things start snowballing a little bit, and we can’t seem to
stop the avalanche,” coach Paul Westphal said. “Whether it’s a
couple of calls we think should go our way, a couple turnovers, a
couple of made 3s, hustle plays where we deflect the ball and it
goes to the other team, it just seems like even though we were
playing well, next thing you know, we’re down 10.”
Sacramento will try to avoid its first seven-game skid on the
road since an 0-11 stretch from Jan. 1-Feb. 7, as it makes its
first trip to New Orleans Arena since a 96-94 loss on Dec. 8,
David West had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Emeka Okafor added 17
points and 12 boards and Paul scored 15 with 12 assists in that
matchup as the Hornets posted their ninth victory in 10 home
meetings with the Kings.
Paul has won the last six times he’s faced Sacramento, and is
averaging 21.8 points and 11.2 assists during that stretch.