Barbosa, Suns burn Hornets
Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) – Leandro Barbosa came off the bench to
score 26 points and dish out five assists as Phoenix dumped a short-handed New
Orleans/Oklahoma City team, 103-95, at the Ford Center.
Shawn Marion added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacific Division-
champion Suns, who remain the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoff
race, 2 1/2 games ahead of San Antonio. Steve Nash chipped in with 15 points,
12 assists and eight rebounds.
“I think we are all waiting for the playoffs,” Nash said. “Our chemistry has
dropped off a little bit. We still have a lot of work to do.”
David West tallied 17 points for the Hornets, who fell a full three games
behind the idle LA Clippers for the eighth and final playoff berth in the
Western Conference. Marc Jackson had 16 points, while Devin Brown and Jannero
Pargo each had 13 points in the loss.
The Hornets were without injured starters Chris Paul, Tyson Chandler and
Desmond Mason and the Suns took advantage by closing the opening frame with a
14-2 run to take control of the contest. Marion highlighted the burst with a
pair of dunks and Phoenix led 37-23, heading into the second quarter.
“We spotted them too many points in the first quarter and we couldn’t recover
from that,” West said. “Guys on this team have a lot of heart, we are always
going to play and not back down.”
The Hornets recovered a bit in the second but still trailed by 12, 60-48, at
West managed to get the Hornets to within six points on two different
occasions in the third quarter. But, the Suns put things away with a 9-0 burst
midway into the final frame.
James Jones highlighted the flurry with back-to-back jumpers before Barbosa
capped things with a three to make it 91-71 with just over seven minutes to
An 8-0 run late was too little, too late for the Hornets as Phoenix held on.
The Hornets announced before the game that Mason would miss the rest of the
season after breaking his nose against Seattle on Wednesday…Paul and
Chandler are both questionable for the Hornets next game…The Hornets lost
for the first time in five games.