When the Hornets last played in Oakland, they beat the Warriors, 112-103, on Jan. 26 to extend what was then the NBA's longest active winning streak to 10 games. When they returned to Oakland on Tuesday, much was different.
First, the outcome was much different as the Warriors beat the Hornets, 102-89. Secondly, Golden State gave New Orleans its eighth loss in the 10 games it has played since its victory against the Warriors, including six losses in the last seven games.
The Hornets' defensive slide continued as they gave up more than 100 points for the seventh time in those 10 games. They have allowed an average of 99.9 in that stretch, though their season average is 92.5.
Their defensive problems actually started at the end of the victory against the Warriors as they let a 25-point lead dwindle to single digits in the fourth quarter, leading coach Monty Williams to put his starters back in for the final couple of minutes after they thought they were done for the game.
"Yeah, we've had it the past few games and it started here," Williams said. "We don't have enough talent to rest on our offense or a lead that we may have. We've shown even when we have a lead, we have to continue to play the game out until the horn blows. When we don't do that, it hasn't gone well for us."
Center Emeka Okafor, the anchor of the Hornets' defense, has been sidelined by a strained oblique muscle since the middle of the second game of this 10-game stretch. The Hornets (33-24) have to get through one more game -- at Portland on Wednesday -- before getting a chance to regroup during the All-Star break. They're hopeful that Okafor can return after the break.
"We're scratching and clawing, trying to find ways to win games," guard Willie Green said. "We've got to find ways to get better and put two halves together."
WARRIORS 102, HORNETS 89: After a fast start in the first quarter, the Hornets couldn't keep up with the Warriors' fast scoring pace. The Hornets led by as many as 15 in the first quarter and by 10 at the end of the quarter, but the Warriors grabbed a five-point halftime lead and ran away in the second half, leading by as many as 20 points. The Hornets, who made 11 of their first 13 shots, scored just 57 points in the final three quarters after scoring 32 in the first. The Hornets allowed the Warriors to shoot 50.6 percent (39-for-77), including 52.6 percent (10-for-19) on three-pointers. Five Warriors scored in double-figures, and all 11 Warriors that played scored.
Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.