Bobcats, Hornets Look to Get Back in Win Column
Posted Nov 14 2006 11:50AM
The New Orleans Hornets were the NBA's last unbeaten team a week ago. Now they're in danger of falling to .500.
They'll try to shake off a dismal road trip and end a three-game slide Tuesday night when they return home to meet the struggling Charlotte Bobcats.
New Orleans was 4-0 entering a three-game road swing last Tuesday, and lost every game. The Hornets (4-3) fell 121-116 at Golden State to open the trip before blowing a 27-point lead in a 92-91 loss at Portland on Wednesday.
They turned in their worst effort of the trip with a 92-76 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
``I don't have a problem losing games,'' coach Byron Scott said. ``I mean, I hate losing - but it's like when I was a player.
``If I knew I gave everything I had out there and played like it was the last game I ever played, then I could look at myself in the mirror and say 'Hey, they were just better than us that night.' But right now, we're not giving ourselves a chance. And that's very disheartening.''
Scott will be short-handed for this contest, with second-leading scorer and rebounder David West expected to miss at least the next two games with a strained right forearm.
West suffered the injury Wednesday, and struggled to play through it Friday as he shot 3-of-12 for eight points. Fellow starting forward Peja Stojakovic wasn't much better with 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting. That duo had been accounting for 36.0 points per game.
``We are laying down and losing games,'' said forward Desmond Mason, held to a season-low seven points on Friday. ``We're just giving games away with some of the things that we are doing, and it's on both ends of the floor. We were talking about it after the game that we need to know what our roles are.''
Chris Paul may need to get back to his role as playmaker and distributor. He's averaged 7.0 assists and 4.7 turnovers during the Hornets' three-game skid, compared to 10.8 assists and 3.0 turnovers through the 4-0 start. Paul scored a career-high 34 points in the loss that opened the road trip.
The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year averaged 24.0 points and 8.5 assists as the Hornets swept the two-game series with the Bobcats (1-5) last season.
Paul now gets another chance to square off with college rival Raymond Felton. He went 4-1 against Felton and North Carolina during his career at Wake Forest.
The only time these second-year point guards started against each other as professionals came in New Orleans' 107-92 win on Jan. 16. While Paul scored 24 points, he helped force Felton into eight turnovers and limit him to 3-of-10 shooting.
Felton returned to the lineup Sunday in a 108-101 loss to Denver after missing a game due to bruised ribs. He wore a flak jacket to protect himself and scored 13 points on 6-of-17 shooting, though he did have seven rebounds and six assists.
The Bobcats committed a franchise-worst 29 turnovers in their third straight loss, including seven by veteran guard Brevin Knight.
``We're careless,'' Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. ``The bottom line is our energy level. It looks like there is no stamina. We're not doing the dirty things, running down loose balls, consistently as a team.''
Bobcats rookie Adam Morrison made 1-of-8 shots for two points - the worst game of his young career. Morrison is shooting just over 32 percent.
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