For the third time in the last four games, New Orleans (26-23) had a chance to prevail in the final minutes but ultimately couldnt dig out of a double-figure hole. Without a doubt, this was one of the more damaging losses for the Hornets in the extraordinarily congested West playoff race. New Orleans had a chance to grab eighth place, at least for the moment, while clinching the season series vs. Oklahoma City (28-21). Instead, the Hornets fell two games behind the Thunder and lost a third straight home game for the first time all season.
More on the defeat, dropping NOLA to 16-7 at home:
Marcus Thornton was his usual aggressive self, racking up 22 points before leaving the game with a bruised tailbone on a hard spill to the floor. Fortunately, the team is listing him as day-to-day. Thornton showed his fearlessness by coming back even after the play in which he was injured and driving hard to the basket again. Eventually the pain caused him to leave the court. Thornton laughed when I told him that if I were coaching, I wouldve pretended not to see him limping, so that Thornton would stay in the game.
New Orleans nearly rallied in the fourth quarter with a unit that did not include second-leading scorer David West on the floor. In Davids case, Im sure hell understand, Jeff Bower said, when asked whether he was concerned about the two-time All-Star players reaction. I felt we had to stay with the guys we had on the floor that were actively involved in the game. I wouldve gone back to him, but I felt he had sat so long that I wasnt sure that was the thing to do.
Thats just the way the game was going, said West, who was taken out after picking up his fourth foul in the third quarter, with NOLA trailing 79-68. The Hornets went on a 16-4 run over the next 5 ½ minutes.
For more on the game, click on NEWS/Post-Game Quotes.