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News » Thunder-Hornets Preview 2009-03-07

Thunder-Hornets Preview 2009-03-07

Thunder-Hornets Preview 2009-03-07
Tyson Chandler didn't get a chance to help the New Orleans Hornets continue a two-year run against Oklahoma City last month. In fact, a since-rescinded trade nearly gave him a shot to support the Thunder's quest to end that skid.

Oklahoma City hasn't needed Chandler, Kevin Durant or Jeff Green to put together a streak of its own.

Undefeated with Chandler back in the lineup, the Hornets look to win their ninth straight game against the suddenly hot Thunder franchise Saturday night in the teams' first matchup since their trade failed.

New Orleans (38-22) has won a season-best six straight games, a streak that began after Chandler returned to the lineup following an ankle injury - and a rescinded trade to Oklahoma City (16-45). The veteran big man failed a physical Feb. 18, causing the Thunder to back out a day after a deal that would have sent Chris Wilcox, Joe Smith and second-round pick DeVon Hardin to the Hornets.

On the day of the trade, New Orleans extended its winning streak against Oklahoma City to eight games with a 100-98 victory. The Hornets haven't lost to the Thunder franchise since falling 102-94 to Seattle on Dec. 26, 2006.

This will be the last of four meetings between the teams this season.

New Orleans enters the contest riding its longest winning streak since a nine-game run from Jan. 11-28, 2008.

"We're clicking pretty well at this point," said Hornets forward David West, averaging 27.2 points and 10.3 rebounds during this win streak. "We talked about having a run where we can put together consecutive wins. We're just feeling good about what we're trying to do. I think this is a good time of the year to be doing that."

Chandler, who did play one season in Oklahoma City during the Hornets' temporary relocation after Hurricane Katrina, is averaging 11.3 rebounds since his return. He has had three games with 17 rebounds or more during New Orleans' streak against Oklahoma City.

The Hornets could use another big rebounding night from Chandler.

The Thunder outrebounded Washington 41-30 in an 88-83 victory Wednesday night, posting a season-best third straight win. A victory Saturday would give them four in a row for the first time since April 2-9, 2006.

Playing without Durant (sprained ankle) and Green (back spasms) has made Oklahoma City's streak even more impressive.

Durant, averaging 26.0 points, has missed three straight games, including a win over Dallas on Monday night. Green, second on the team with 17.2 points a contest, has missed the last two games.

Their status for Saturday's game is uncertain.

New Orleans, meanwhile, could be without veteran forward Peja Stojakovic (back spasms) for the second straight contest. He sat out a 104-88 win over the Mavericks on Thursday night after his back flared up during Monday night's matchup with Philadelphia.

Stojakovic, averaging 13.8 points and 4.4 rebounds, leads the Hornets with 130 3-pointers but has shot 26.3 percent (21-for-80) from beyond the arc in his last 12 games.

Chris Paul more than made up for Stojakovic's absence Thursday, posting 27 points and 15 assists. The fourth-year point guard had one of his five triple-double of the season in a 109-97 win over Oklahoma City on Nov. 22, finishing with 29 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds.

Paul will be matched up with impressive rookie Russell Westbrook, averaging 15.7 points, 5.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds for the Thunder. Westbrook, the fourth overall pick in last year's draft, is averaging 29.7 points and 7.6 assists in his last three road games.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 7, 2009


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