Wounded Hornets try to buzz past Suns
(Sports Network) – The streaking New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets continue
their final push towards earning a playoff berth, as they host the Pacific
Division-champion Phoenix Suns tonight at the Ford Center.
New Orleans/Oklahoma City is 2 1/2 games behind the Clippers for the eighth
and final playoff berth in the Western Conference. Golden State is one game
ahead of the Hornets.
Phoenix is the second seed in the West standings, just two games ahead of No.
3 San Antonio.
The Hornets try to make it four wins in a row. Bobby Jackson scored seven of
his 18 points in overtime to lift the Hornets to a 101-92 victory over the
Seattle SuperSonics on Wednesday at the Ford Center.
David West had 18 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans/Oklahoma City, which
scored a franchise-low six points in the fourth quarter. Rasual Butler tallied
16 points and Marc Jackson contributed 13 points and 12 boards for the
Hornets, who have captured six of their last nine games overall.
Chris Paul narrowly missed a triple-double with 11 points, 11 boards and nine
assists for the Hornets, who outrebounded the SuperSonics, 55-38.
New Orleans/Oklahoma City is 23-15 as the host this season. The Hornets will
visit Kevin Garnett and the disappointing Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday
at the Target Center.
On the injury front for the Hornets, rookies Hilton Armstrong (sprained left
wrist) and Cedric Simmons (sprained left ankle) are questionable, while Tyson
Chandler (sore left big toe) and Paul (sore left foot) are doubtful.
Forward Peja Stojakovic (lower back) is also doubtful for tonight’s contest.
Stojakovic, who is in his first season with the Hornets, is averaging 17.8
points in 13 games this season. The sharp-shooting Stojakovic last played on
The Hornets will be without forward Desmond Mason, who is sidelined
indefinitely with a fractured cheek bone and nose. Mason, who is fourth on the
team in scoring at 13.7 points per game, suffered the injury after receiving
an elbow from Seattle’s Chris Wilcox during Wednesday’s overtime victory.
The Suns play the third of a four-game road trip. On Thursday, Tony Parker
scored a season-high 35 points, and San Antonio held off a late charge by
Phoenix to beat the Suns, 92-85, at the AT&T Center.
Reigning MVP Steve Nash finished with 20 points and seven assists for the
Suns, who shot just 38.5 percent from the field. Shawn Marion tallied 17
points and Raja Bell scored 11 points and pulled down 13 boards for Phoenix,
which had a three-game winning streak halted.
Phoenix is 25-12 on the road this season. The Suns will visit Kobe Bryant and
the Lakers on Sunday at the Staples Center.
This is the third and final meeting of the campaign between the squads. The
Suns are 2-0 against the Hornets this season and have won five in a row in the
Phoenix has won five straight after losing its last two at the Hornets.