A 26-6 third quarter edge sparked New Orleans to its second straight win to open the preseason, a 34-point blowout against Indiana. The Hornets' starters played the bulk of the first quarter and the entire third quarter.
Indiana only mustered 29 points after intermission. "I thought our guys did a great job on the defensive end," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Our weakside defense was great, and the communication is getting better and better."
Center/forward Melvin Ely (12 points) and point guard Jared Jordan were among the reserves who performed well. Jordan sank a 70-foot shot at the end of the first quarter, but the release took place just after the buzzer.
"I thought Jared Jordan played extremely well," Scott said. "I looked at the way he had been practicing. He comes with a great effort every single day, and tonight it showed. From the first unit on down, I thought everyone played well, but if you had to pick out one guy who stood out, I thought he played better than anyone expected."
Ely, who missed part of last season with a fractured eye socket, received an elbow to the face from Indiana's Roy Hibbert in the fourth quarter. The rookie from Georgetown was ejected from his first NBA preseason game after being called for a flagrant foul-type 2.
Hornets postgame quotes (courtesy Indiana Pacers)
(on his ankle injury) The ankle is really not going to be a problem. It happened over the summer and its really not having an effect on me now. It did though influence my decision about trying out for the Olympic team. I really wanted to be there since I was invited and I didnt decide until three days before the report date to go ahead and sit it out. It probably would have done more damage sitting there and just practicing. Coach since day one has stressed the emphasis to sacrifice on defense, not as individuals but collectively. People are going to know when you come into town and now we are the hunted instead of being the hunter. It feels real good, my position here now.
Tonight in the first half, things were a little sluggish, I think both ways. But in the third and fourth quarters, we really tried to stress defense and take the pride in what we are doing. And Jared (Jordan) really was a key on defense and we know that when hes out there, that we know he knows how to play and hes not going to do anything to hurt you. That was a key in the second half.