Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 95, Suns 92
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Hornets (27-50), Suns (23-54)
It was over when… Al-Farouq Aminu dropped in a jump hook from the middle of the lane, giving New Orleans a three-possession advantage at 93-86 with 18 seconds remaining. The Hornets trailed for the entire first half, but eventually caught the Suns and dominated the third quarter by a 35-19 margin. After New Orleans grabbed an 81-64 lead, Phoenix made one final push in the fourth quarter but ran out of gas (the Suns nailed a three-pointer with five-tenths left to tighten the final score). The Hornets broke through for their first win in three tries on a five-game road trip, which continues Tuesday in Los Angeles. The Lakers, who dropped to ninth place in the West on Sunday, will be in dire need of a victory. Eighth-place Utah will have a magic number of 4 entering Tuesday's action.
Hornets MVP: In yet another sign of the strides Anthony Davis has made in the second half of the season, the No. 1 overall pick registered consecutive 20-point games for the first time as a pro. Davis followed up his 24-point game at Utah on Friday with 20 points in Phoenix. “The dude’s very talented,” said Eric Gordon (17 points, 6 assists). “He has a lot of upside and can do a variety of things. It’s just good to see him grow in that aspect and be a 20-and-10 type guy.” Davis actually had a below-average rebounding night with just three boards, but went 8-for-8 from the foul line. Last Sunday, he set a career high with 11 free throw attempts vs. Cleveland.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: After going 1-for-18 from the field in the first two games of the road trip, it was good to see Ryan Anderson bounce back with a productive 17-point, 10-rebound performance. While Anderson was deserving in his own right of top reserve honors, let’s go with Xavier Henry. The third-year swingman had his best game in weeks, notching eight points and six rebounds, along with a key blocked shot, in his 18 minutes on the floor. The bench finished in a 33-all deadlock in scoring with Phoenix’s subs, a nice turnaround from Friday’s performance at Utah.
The buzz on… the end of a lengthy drought away from New Orleans. Sunday’s victory in Arizona was the Hornets’ first road win since the All-Star break, a streak that had reached eight games. Their last road triumph took place on Feb. 11 in Detroit, three days before the team’s hiatus for the NBA’s midseason showcase event. “That’s terrible to hear that,” Gordon bluntly replied when he was told of the nearly two-month road dry spell. “It was good to get a win, so that people can stop talking about how many times we’ve lost in a row on the road," NOLA head coach Monty Williams said, half-jokingly. "Our guys feel good about beating a team in their place.” Incidentally, the win over Phoenix also virtually assured that New Orleans will place ahead of the Suns in the Western Conference standings. The Hornets, who are four games ahead of the Suns with only five games remaining, finished in the basement of the West last season at 21-45.