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News » Timberwolves-Hornets Preview 2009-03-18


Timberwolves-Hornets Preview 2009-03-18


Timberwolves-Hornets Preview 2009-03-18
After a frustrating start to their homestand, the New Orleans Hornets have a good chance to regain some momentum - and snap out of their offensive slump - over their next three games.

The Hornets look to avoid a third straight loss Wednesday night when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves.

New Orleans (41-25) has struggled offensively of late, averaging 89.2 points in its last five games and 81.5 in back-to-back losses to Chicago and Houston. The Hornets shot 39.7 percent in a 95-84 defeat to the Rockets on Monday to open a five-game homestand.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak at New Orleans Arena for the Hornets, who were averaging 102.8 points and shooting 51.5 percent during that stretch there. They fell 1 1/2 games behind Houston, which is third in the Western Conference.

"We lost one that we should have won," said star guard Chris Paul, who had 29 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and six steals.

With the Hornets struggling offensively, and the team still dealing with injuries, coach Byron Scott recognizes the importance of this homestand.

After facing Minnesota, New Orleans hosts Memphis and Golden State before closing the stretch next Wednesday against Denver. The Timberwolves, Grizzlies and Warriors are in the bottom half of the conference and Golden State and Minnesota both allow more than 100 points per game.

"I told the guys that we have to take care of business Wednesday," Scott said. "We can't think about the next four games here at home. We have to think about Minnesota - that is all we should be concerned about."

While this homestand gives the Hornets a golden chance to build momentum, they have to be concerned about Tyson Chandler, who admitted that his troublesome left ankle, which kept him out 16 games between January and February, is bothering him.

Chandler, who averaged 11.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in his first seven games back - all wins - has averaged 5.8 points and 9.6 rebounds the last five contests. He was limited to four points and seven rebounds Monday.

"I just don't feel like my ankle is healed," Chandler said. "It was dragging me out there. It was a tough time. I'll get some treatment and see how it goes."

The Hornets are already without forward Peja Stojakovic, who is day-to-day with back soreness.

Chandler missed both of New Orleans' previous games against Minnesota (20-47), which the Hornets split. They were also missing Paul in a 101-97 home victory Feb. 8.

The Timberwolves have lost 17 of their last 20, including a 93-86 defeat Tuesday to a San Antonio team missing Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Minnesota scored only 14 points in the second quarter.

"It always is tough when you lose, but to do it really when three or four of their top guys are out, that hurts," said Kevin Love, who had 17 points and 19 rebounds. "With them out, we really could have set a tone from the beginning and instead we ended up playing from behind."

Love is averaging 15.3 points and 10.9 rebounds in the last eight games.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 18, 2009

 

 
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