Despite three straight wins, the New Orleans Hornets haven’t
been completely satisfied with their effort. A change in
philosophy, meanwhile, has the New York Knicks in the midst of a
rare successful stretch.
Coming off another close victory, the Hornets return home to
face a Knicks team trying to win four in a row for the first time
in nearly four years Friday night.
New Orleans (10-11) won 97-96 at Minnesota on Wednesday night,
getting a layup by Chris Paul with 1.4 seconds left to avoid a loss
to one of the league’s worst teams. The Hornets were down 16 midway
through the third quarter before making a move.
“I think we’ve got to be more focused in executing our game plan
and stay with it,” said forward Peja Stojakovic, who had 21
The Hornets needed a layup from Darius Songaila with 12 seconds
left to beat Sacramento 96-94 on Tuesday night. That was New
Orleans’ sixth win in a row at home, its longest run there since an
11-game winning streak from Feb. 27-April 6, 2008.
New York (7-15) has a chance to win four straight for the first
time since a six-game streak from Jan. 2-13, 2006. The Knicks have
been playing better after coach Mike D’Antoni shortened his
rotation and put an emphasis on defense.
“Once you start playing and winning and having hope, a lot of
this is psychological,” D’Antoni said. “They just have a better
feeling about themselves and more confidence, and I think too as we
go forward we should be able to get better.”
New York forced 18 turnovers in a 93-84 win over short-handed
Portland on Monday night. The Knicks held an opponent under 90 for
the first time this season.
While streaky scorer Nate Robinson was held out of the rotation
the past four games, Jared Jeffries started the last three contests
due to his smart play. He drew five offensive fouls over his last
“We need to get wins right now and I think the whole team is
taking on the attitude of (doing) whatever it takes,” Jeffries told
the Knicks’ official Web site. “I think guys are sacrificing some
of their minutes, sacrificing shooting the ball, sacrificing their
bodies and putting extra time in the gym to get this team over the
Eddy Curry’s role is still to be determined. He was in uniform
Monday, but didn’t play after missing seven games due to a sore
D’Antoni wanted the veteran center to get more practice time
before putting him on the court.
David Lee continues to start at center for New York. He had 28
points in the Knicks’ 117-111 win over the Hornets on Nov. 2.
New Orleans center Emeka Okafor had 24 points, 10 rebounds and
three blocks in that contest. He was held to seven points and six
rebounds versus the Timberwolves.