Notebook: Hornets 110, Kings 95

Posted Feb 24, 2013 9:38 PM

Bradley Handwerger, for

THE FACTS: The New Orleans Hornets ended a three-game slide Sunday, breaking open a tight game in the fourth quarter to beat the Sacramento Kings 110-95.

The Hornets (20-37) saw their lead cut down to just two points late in the third quarter after Sacramento's John Salmons put up 15 points in the period.

But the Kings would get no closer thanks to New Orleans' bench, which outscored the Kings 29-22 in the fourth quarter.

New Orleans dominated the final 12 minutes, shooting 54.5 percent and outrebounding the Kings 14-6.

After the Hornets gave up a late lead in their Friday night loss to Dallas, it appeared the same was brewing Sunday. Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas scored two consecutive baskets, his 3-pointer cutting the Hornets' lead to 88-83 with eight minutes to play.

And then the Hornets took over. Beginning with a Roger Mason Jr. free throw, the New Orleans scored 12 of the next 14 points scored in the game.

While New Orleans didn't force but one turnover in the quarter, it held the Kings to 42.1 percent shooting and didn't turn the ball twice itself.

For Sacramento, the road doesn't get any easier. The Kings are in the midst of a five-game road swing in which they still have to face the reigning NBA champion Heat and current Western Conference leader San Antonio.

And they still have to find a way to work in newly-acquired players Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich, though the Aldrich has yet to pass his physical.

The Hornets closes out a three-game home stand on Tuesday against the Brooklyn, the only time the Nets will play in New Orleans this season.

QUOTABLE: "I think we get more excited when Ryan (Anderson) dunks than when I dunk. When Ryan got that dunk, everyone got crazy. We're not used to seeing him dunking."
-- Hornets forward Anthony Davis deflecting praise when asked about how his rim-rattling dunks affect his teammates.

THE STAT: 45-17 -- The difference Sunday for New Orleans was its outsized bench scoring. Led Ryan Anderson and his 17 points, the Hornets' reserves outscored Sacramento's by 28 points. While nearly every other stat was close, that one was not and the bench helped the Hornets get a win in spite of the Kings' starters' bevy of points.

TURNING POINT: When the Kings' Thomas sank a 3-pointer with 8:03 to go in the fourth quarter, cutting New Orleans' lead to 88-83, it appeared the Hornets would have a tough time closing out Sacramento. And then the Hornets took over. It started when Sacramento's Tyreke Evans was whistled for a technical foul. Mason hit the free throw and then Anderson hit a short jumper and the ensuing free throw. After an Evans miss, Jason Smith's jumper lengthened the lead to 94-83 and the rout was on.

QUOTABLE II: "John Salmons actually played a very good game and made some big timely 3's to get us back in the ball game. Then we had some turnovers, run-outs, the dunks. We just didn't manage that moment, that little pocket of the game -- six minutes, three minutes, two minutes."
-- Kings coach Keith Smart on the turning point of the game in the fourth quarter.

HOT: New Orleans' trio of key reserves -- Mason Jr., Anderson and Smith keyed the Hornets' fourth-quarter 31-point explosion. They went a combined 11 of 14 for 33 points.

NOT: Sacramento's Jimmer Fredette has not come back strong from the All-Star break. Since games resumed, he is only 6-of-17 shooting, including a 1-for-4 performance against the Hornets on Sunday.

NOTABLE: The Hornets' Greivis Vasquez had his 22nd double-double, scoring 12 points while recording 13 assists. He remains No. 1 in that category for NBA guards. ... Salmons' 15 third-quarter points came on five 3-pointers. He has zero points through the first 24 minutes. ... New Orleans' Al-Farouq Aminu filled up his stat row with four points, eight rebounds, two assists, three steals and three blocked shots.

UP NEXT: For the Hornets, Tuesday vs. Brooklyn, Wednesday @ Oklahoma City, Friday vs. Detroit. For the Kings, Tuesday @ Miami, Wednesday @ Orlando, Friday @ San Antonio.