In the midst of his most productive stretch of the season, Morris Peterson will remain in the starting lineup vs. Utah (7 p.m., New Orleans Arena) tonight, the fifth consecutive start for the 10-year veteran. Marcus Thornton, who missed three consecutive games before returning to action Feb. 10 vs. Boston, will come off the bench for a second straight outing.
We are going to keep Mo in the starting lineup for tonights game, and bring Marcus off the bench, Hornets coach Jeff Bower said at shootaround, within the past hour. Marcus practiced very well the past two days and is recovered.
Other notes from shootaround this morning:
Utah has been one of the best teams in the league since the Jazzs defeat to the Hornets on Jan. 4. Utah is 14-2 in its last 16 games. Theyve been virtually unbeatable, Bower said. I think theyve integrated Kyle Korver into their rotation now. At that time (Jan. 4), he was just getting back (from injury). Hes made an impact. Theyve played outstanding basketball and it shows in the way theyve climbed the standings.
Do not adjust your TV set tonight when you see the Hornets starting small forward that really is Peja Stojakovic, sporting the extremely tight new buzz cut. Stojakovic has cut his hair about as short as its ever been, although he claims to always get the same haircut at the beginning of every offseason. Ive had it like this before, but its just that you dont see me (because Stojakovic is in Europe during the offseason), Stojakovic said.
The portion of the season immediately after the All-Star break means several things, but one of them is an added sense of urgency. Teams on the outside looking in of the conferences top eight cant say there is plenty of time left much longer, not when there are fewer than 30 games remaining on the schedule.
We know every game is important, Peja Stojakovic said on Wednesday morning. In order for us to get there (to the playoffs), we know we have to play at a high level.
Unfortunately for the Hornets (28-26), at times tonight they looked like a team that hadnt played a game in seven days. In a turnover-filled contest, New Orleans finished with 18 miscues, which were actually four fewer turnovers than Utah (34-19). But the Jazz was much sharper in the fourth quarter, holding a 26-19 scoring edge to notch a second quality road win in as many nights.
Other notes from tonight:
Darius Songaila went down with what looked like a nasty right ankle sprain in the fourth quarter, causing him to head to the locker room. After the game he said he took X-rays that came back negative. His condition will be further evaluated Thursday.
It was an utterly frustrating night all the way around for David West, who played only 26 minutes due to foul trouble. He was 2-for-9 from the field, scoring five points and grabbing five rebounds. Asked by a reporter about his mood following tonights game, West said, Im just looking forward to Friday (vs. Indiana), because I didnt even get a chance to play tonight.