For a second straight game, the Hornets fell behind by a significant margin against one of the NBAs premier teams. For a second straight game, New Orleans mounted an impressive comeback. Unlike Fridays thrilling victory over Orlando, however, this time the Hornets couldnt finish off what would have been another stunning, come-from-behind win.
En route to the Mavericks piling up a 25-point second-half lead, ESPNs Tim Legler described their performance as a clinic. The Hornets were getting schooled by a veteran opponent, and it appeared as though the Mavericks (39-21) might be able to rest their top players in the fourth quarter and easily notch their seventh straight win.
Instead, led by Darren Collisons career-high 35-point eruption, the Hornets (31-29) cut the deficit all the way down to four points. Just five days after fellow New Orleans rookie Marcus Thornton poured in 37 points at Cleveland, Collison nearly matched that scoring output. The UCLA point guard was 15-for-21 from the field, going 3-for-5 from three-point range and repeatedly draining 18- to 20-footers. There were doubts about Collisons deep-shooting ability entering the NBA, something he vowed to work on diligently, and the results are showing.
Thornton also turned in another productive offensive game, totaling 21 points, meaning the rookie guards combined for 58 of the teams 100 points. Over the past four games dating back to the trip to Cleveland, Collison and Thornton have racked up a total of 196 points, which averages out to 49 points per game (or 24.5 points per man).