Notebook: Hornets 93, Suns 84



Posted Feb 7, 2013 12:18 AM

By Scott Kushner, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: A pit stop at home proved to be exactly what the New Orleans Hornets needed to snap a four-game losing skid. In between a five-game road trip caused by New Orleans hosting the Super Bowl and a three game trip forced by the upcoming Mardi Gras festival season, the Hornets defeated the Phoenix Suns 93-84 Wednesday night in front of 12,148 people who welcomed them back to the New Orleans Arena.

Four different Hornets (16-33) players scored in double figures, and two notched double-doubles, led by Greivis Vasquez's game high 19 points and 12 assists, propelling New Orleans to just its second win in its past eight games. Phoenix (17-33) held a rebounding advantage throughout the game, but was beaten up in the paint, outscored 56-42 in the lane -- an important contributor to the Hornets' stellar 52 percent shooting. Several Hornets players credited a three-day break in the schedule and their return home for its renewed energy as New Orleans held the Suns to just 31 second-half points, who were less than 24 hours removed from a 96-90 win over the Grizzlies in Memphis.

QUOTABLE: "Our preparation going into this game was outstanding. It was one of the best we've had, mostly because coach [Monty Williams] was extremely upset at us. He was tough on everybody, and I like that. He was calling people out. And he made us step up and grow as men. I thought our last game against Minnesota, that wasn't us. We're better than that -- all of us. We showed it tonight."

-- Greivis Vasquez, on the Hornets positively responding from its three-day break following its four-game losing streak

THE STAT: The Suns scored just two points over a five minute stretch in the fourth quarter, after it had whittled the Hornets' double-digit lead down to 80-78 with 6:16 remaining. Poor shooting and scattered defense allowed New Orleans to jump out on a 13-2 run and put the game away.

TURNING POINT: Oddly, an identical run bit Phoenix in the previous quarter, as well. After the Suns answered a 6-0 Hornets' run with a 6-0 run of its own, Monty Williams immediately called a timeout. New Orleans then outscored Phoenix 13-2 over the next four minutes opening up a lead it would never relinquish.

HOT: Vasquez said he played one the most complete games of his career on Wednesday night, and the box score backed him up. The Hornets' point guard efficiently tallied 19 points, making eight of his nine shots (producing them all midway through the third quarter) and dished out 12 assists without surrendering a turnover. He also swiped four steals defensively.

NOT: Despite a series of open looks, Phoenix went just 1-for-15 on 3-point attempts (6.7 percent). Seven different Suns bricked shots from beyond the arc. Jared Dudley knocked down the only 3, but missed four others. The missed opportunities hamstrung the Suns' offense which converted 54 percent of its 2-pointers (34-for-65).

QUOTABLE II: "I think we just have such a totally different offense now, because we are throwing the ball down low and not doing much pick-and-roll, so we aren't getting the open looks we need to get. I know we're on a back-to-back, so I'm not sure if that's mental toughness or some other stuff but we need to make things happen on defense when we're shooting like that so we can get easier shots."

-- Jared Dudley on his team's struggles shooting from the perimeter

NOTABLE: The Hornets wore their commemorative purple, green and gold uniforms to celebrate the impending Mardi Gras holiday in New Orleans. It was the only home game the Hornets will wear them this season. ...After combining for just five points and eight rebounds in his past two games, Hornets' forward Al-Farouq Aminu pulled down 11 boards and scored 16 points against the Suns. ...Rookie point guard Kendall Marshall continued to see an increased role off of the bench, logging 20 minutes and scoring six points. ...Hornets' rookie Anthony Davis pulled down just one rebound in nearly 20 minutes.

UP NEXT: For the Hornets, Friday @ Atlanta, Sunday @ Toronto, Monday @ Detroit. For the Suns, Friday @ Oklahoma City, Sunday vs. Oklahoma City, Tuesday @ Lakers.