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Dragic and Co. have won four of their last five meetings against the Hornets.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
Posted: Jan. 30, 2011

Heading to Phoenix, the New Orleans Hornets need to make sure there are no lingering effects after their longest winning streak of the season ended.

Coming off their first loss in three weeks, the Hornets look to bounce back while trying to avoid a third straight defeat to the Suns on Sunday night.

New Orleans (31-17) was in position to set a franchise record with an 11th straight victory Saturday, but fell 102-96 at surging Sacramento. The Hornets, 12-3 this month, have not lost back-to-back games since Jan. 5-7.

After shooting a season-high 62.2 percent in Wednesday's 112-103 win at Golden State, New Orleans made just 43.2 percent of its shots Saturday en route to its second loss in nine road games.

"I just thought we had this mindset that we were just going to win 11 (consecutive) by showing up," first-year coach Monty Williams told the Hornets' official website. "When you win this many games you have a target on your back. We've just got to turn the page, but not without learning some of these lessons."

If New Orleans is to bounce back, it's going to need to play better defense than it did Saturday.

The Hornets allowed Sacramento to shoot 50.0 percent and outscore them 52-30 in the paint despite 21 points from power forward David West and 15 from center Emeka Okafor.

In its last two contests, the Hornets have allowed the Warriors and Kings to shoot a combined 52.7 percent.

New Orleans also has struggled defensively at Phoenix of late. The Suns averaged 122.0 points and shot 56.4 percent while winning their last two home games versus New Orleans, which has dropped four of five overall in the series.

Phoenix (21-24), however, has not had to face All-Star guard Chris Paul in the last three meetings because of various injuries. Paul has averaged 26.8 points and 11.4 assists in his last 12 games versus Phoenix.

Despite posting their third-lowest scoring total of the season, the Suns snapped a three-game skid with an 88-71 win over Boston on Friday.

Reserve forward Marcin Gortat had career highs of 19 points with 17 rebounds while Steve Nash added 13 points with 10 assists. However, it was a strong defensive effort that paced the Suns to their fourth win in five home games.

Phoenix allowed its fewest points this season and held the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics to 34.2 percent shooting - the lowest against the Suns in 2010-11.

The Suns, three games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, have held three opponents to fewer than 75 points this season for the first time since 2002-03. The latest effort has the club excited about their potential to not only compete, but beat some of the league's top teams.

"It's great for our confidence and at the same time, it just lets us know that we're very capable of playing at a high level," Vince Carter told the Suns' official website. "This team is capable of being in the playoffs."

Carter has totaled 39 points and shot 13 of 27 the last two games after combining for 26 on 10-of-40 shooting the previous four contests. The veteran swingman has averaged 27.3 points his last 12 contests against the Hornets.

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