Daily Confidential

The New Orleans Hornets are off to the best start in franchise history.

They'll look to remain undefeated Thursday when they visit the Golden State Warriors in the finale of a home-and-home series.

The Hornets beat Golden State 97-93 on Tuesday at Oklahoma City for their fourth straight victory to open the season. Two nights earlier, they beat Houston in their opener in New Orleans, where they will play six home games this season as the city continues its recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

The Hornets' 4-0 start is their best since their 1988-89 inception an expansion franchise in Charlotte. They opened with three straight wins in the 2003-04 season.

The Utah Jazz suffered their first loss of the season Wednesday night at New Jersey, leaving the Hornets as the league's last undefeated team.

``We're still trying to build an identity,'' said guard Chris Paul, who had 22 points and 11 assists Tuesday. ``It's only four games into a new season. It's still possible for us to finish 4-78. You never know.''

David West's 19 points per game lead the team while Paul, last season's NBA rookie of the year, is averaging 17.5 points and 10.8 assists.

All five Hornets starters scored in double figures against the Warriors (2-3). Tyson Chandler had 10 points and 14 rebounds, his first game scoring in double digits since being acquired from Chicago in an offseason trade.

``You can't key on one guy with our team,'' Paul said. ``Some teams have a guy that down the stretch they're going to go to that guy every time. With our team it varies.''

The Hornets are opening a three-game road trip and play five of their next six games away from home.

``I think every player on the team is getting more confident when we step on the floor that we can get the job done,'' said Desmond Mason, who had 12 points and nine rebounds on Tuesday. ``Even in tight situations we're getting it done. Last year we didn't do that. Last year we kind of fell flat a little bit in those situations down the stretch. We couldn't make plays.''

Baron Davis is averaging team highs of 17.0 points and 6.6 assists per game for Golden State, which is opening a seven-game homestand. Davis was drafted by the Hornets in the first round of the 1999 draft and played with them until getting traded to the Warriors in the middle of the 2004-05 season.

Davis scored a team-high 22 points against New Orleans on Tuesday in just his second game against his former team. He played in only one of Golden State's three games against the Hornets last season because of injury, picking up 17 points in the Warriors' 99-83 win on Nov. 28.

The Warriors lost the other two games in the season series and have dropped three straight meetings overall against the Hornets.

Mickael Pietrus did not play Tuesday because of a sprained left ankle, and Ike Diogu left in the second quarter after spraining his left ankle. Both are questionable for Thursday's game.

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