Hornets conquer Kings despite losing Davis
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Ryan Anderson patiently answered questions after a 27-point performance in the New Orleans Hornets' 114-105 victory over Sacramento on Monday. About 15 feet away, the franchise's prized player was nursing an ankle injury.
After a first half which in which he scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, the Hornets' Anthony Davis sat out the second, after spraining his left ankle in the second quarter. It was the same ankle he injured earlier in the year that sidelined him for 11 games.
However, Davis said he should be ready to play at Sacramento on Wednesday, the first of a grueling stretch in which the Hornets will play 9 of 11 games away from New Orleans Arena.
"I landed on (his) foot and rolled it," Davis said, "Pretty sure I should be back. It's fine. "
Greivis Vasquez scored19 points, Eric Gordon 16, and Al-Farouz Aminu 14 for the Hornets, who have won 3 of their past 4.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 29 points and 13 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points, Tyreke Evans 16 and Travis Outlaw 10 for Sacramento, which was playing its first game since it was announced the team would be sold and potentially moved to Seattle.
Anderson scored 17 points in the second quarter and 19 in the half, making 5 of 8 3-point attempts when the Hornets raced to a 64-39 halftime lead. He finished 7 of 14 beyond the arc.
"I shot some tonight that were a little difficult," said Anderson, who added the Kings' defense allowed the Hornets to spread the floor. "I got open looks and the guys were looking for me."
The Hornets shot 53.1 percent in the first 2 quarters and matched a season high for first-half points.
"It was one of our better first halves," Davis said. "We pushed the ball offensively, we defended really well."
The Hornets packed its defense in the paint, continually denying Sacramento the entry pass and forcing the Kings to move to the outside, where they struggled. Sacramento made its first four shots but finished the half 15 of 44, shooting 34 percent.
The Kings were 11 of 40 from the field after the opening three minutes of the first quarter and committed 9 turnovers.
"We've got to come out there ready to play," said Cousins, who was held to 8 points in the first half. "Giving them that (big) lead, that put us behind, and we were playing catch-up the rest of the game. If we came out early with energy we probably wouldn't have been in that situation."
The Hornets led by 27 midway through the quarter, but with Davis out the Kings were able to cut the deficit to single digits on several occasions in the second half, including seven in the third and fourth quarters.
"We didn't like the sloppy play in the second half but I'm not going to dwell on that," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "The good thing is our guys felt badly about it and that is something that shows character, but at the same time you don't want to see it, giving up a 37-point quarter (the most the Hornets have allowed in the third quarter) and a 29-point quarter after the way the defense played in the first half."
Sacramento took an early 8-4 lead but during the next nine minutes was 4 of 19 from the field. The Hornets closed the first quarter on a 19-10 run to take a 30-18 lead.
Robin Lopez's three-point play on an offensive rebound gave the Hornets their first lead at 11-8 with 7:54 to play in the quarter, a lead they would not relinquish.
"I was proud of the way the guys came back in the third quarter," Hornets coach Keith Smart said. "It would have been easy for them to pack it in, but they came out and made a game of it."
NOTES: Vasquez had 11 assists to along with his 19 points, recording his 14th double-double of the season. . .The Hornets shot 48.3 percent from the field, marking the fifth time in the past seven games they have shot at least 48 percent from the field. . .Cousins had his 19th double-double of the season.