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Posted Feb 4 2007 8:20PM
The New Orleans Hornets may not score a lot of points, but they're winning games with their defense.
New Orleans looks to keep rolling when it visits the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
The Hornets (21-26), who score fewer points per game than any team in the NBA at 90.5, have won two in a row and five of their last six. They've held all six opponents to 42 percent shooting or below during that stretch.
The Hornets' latest strong defensive effort came in an 87-74 win over Houston on Saturday. New Orleans overcame its own offensive struggles by holding the Rockets to a season-low 74 points on 37.2 percent shooting.
"I told them before the game that it would be an ugly game," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "It was, but I'll take a win in any game."
Devin Brown led the Hornets with 18 points, and Chris Paul added 12 points, nine assists and four steals in his third game back from an ankle injury that sidelined him for 17 games.
While the Hornets have been riding their defense to victories, they've been unable to follow that formula with any success in Sacramento. The Hornets haven't won in Sacramento since Jan. 12, 1997, when they were based in Charlotte. Since that victory, they are 0-10 at Arco Arena, with nine of the losses coming by at least 10 points. They have given up an average of 103.2 points per game in that stretch.
The Kings (19-26), meanwhile, have won three in a row at home and hope to extend that streak against a New Orleans club that has lost 10 of its last 12 road games.
Sacramento is coming off a 94-87 victory over Denver on Saturday. Kevin Martin scored 28 points and hit four 3-pointers for the Kings, who extended their winning streak against the Nuggets at Arco to 20 games, the longest active home win streak against one team in the NBA.
Ron Artest made a 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining to secure the win, and finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals. He also played smothering defense on NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony, who was held to 20 points on 7-of-25 shooting, his lowest scoring output since Dec. 9 and his worst shooting performance of the season.
"Ron did a heck of a job on Carmelo," Kings guard Mike Bibby said. "We got stops when we needed to in the fourth quarter and Ron hit that big shot at the end."
The Kings got the win over Denver despite shooting 37.9 percent from the field. That could be encouraging for Sacramento against the Hornets, who are tied for third in the league in field-goal percentage defense at 43.8 and have held opponents to 38.7 percent from the field over their last six games.
The Hornets beat the Kings 88-84 in New Orleans on Jan. 26. They meet again in Oklahoma City on Feb. 14 before closing out the season series in Sacramento on April 16.
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