Knicks (11-9), Hornets (13-6)
It was over when... New York guard Raymond Felton grabbed an offensive rebound off his own miss, retaining possession for the Knicks with just under a minute remaining and a 10-point lead. New York closed out a victory, handing New Orleans one of its most disappointing defeats in the early season, though it was without David West (stomach virus). The Hornets lost at home for just the second time in 10 outings.
Hornets MVP: In the illness absence of his fellow starting forward, Trevor Ariza appeared to be more aggressive offensively than he's been in any game this season. Ariza finished with a season-high 21 points, while taking a season-most 21 shots from the field. The Knicks seemed to account for him a bit better as the game progressed, holding Ariza to 0-for-4 in the fourth quarter.
Ariza said his busy offensive game was not a conscious reaction to West not playing: "Not at all. I guess it was just the flow of the game."
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Not a lot jumped out from the reserves statistically, with Jarrett Jack leading the group in scoring (6 points) but also shooting poorly (2-for-8). D.J. Mbenga garnered the in-arena honor by contributing four points, three rebounds and two steals. Not a bad line for only 10 minutes of action.
The buzz on... the Hornets' health in 2010-11. As tempting as it may be to blame Friday's loss on West not being available, the reality is that New Orleans has actually been extremely fortunate in the injury department, with no significant ones through the first month-plus. In fact, the Hornets sent out the same starting five in every game before West was forced to sit out vs. New York.
That's a major contrast to last season, when the media needed near-daily updates from Jeff Bower and the training staff to find out which players were starting, which players were available and how many substitutes would dress. The low point came after the All-Star break, when only eight players suited up in more than one instance. Overall, health has been yet another area in which the current Hornets have shown drastic improvement from a season ago.
Blog question of the night: Many of the faces have changed on both teams since last season, yet the storyline of the Hornets having major problems against the Knicks continued Friday. It was New Orleans' fifth straight loss to New York, even though the Hornets have been a better team (record-wise) in each of the five matchups. Why has NOLA struggled so much against New York?