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News » Thunder-Hornets Preview

Thunder-Hornets Preview

Thunder-Hornets Preview
One night after an impressive win in their old arena in front of their former fans, the New Orleans Hornets look to treat their current fan base to a similar performance.

On Saturday night at the New Orleans Arena, the Hornets look to sweep a home-and-home series from the woeful Oklahoma City Thunder, who are trying to avoid their 11th straight loss.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans (6-5) in August 2005, the Hornets relocated to Oklahoma City's Ford Center for two seasons.

Fans in the Sooner State fell in love with the team as it rebuilt from an 18-win season to become a playoff contender. The Hornets received a warm welcome from a sellout crowd in Friday's return, an easy 105-80 win over the Thunder.

"We know we still have fans here and we still love this city and the way that they treated us while we were here," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said.

Chris Paul had 17 points, six assists and six rebounds, while David West finished with 19 points and eight boards.

Friday's victory also got the Hornets back above .500, and they'll now try to win back-to-back games for the first time since starting the season 3-0.

"One game doesn't solve all our problems, but we're trying to get on a roll here," Scott said.

New Orleans has lofty goals this season after winning the franchise's first division title, and advancing to the Western Conference semifinals in 2007-08.

"I think we have a really good team, a really special team. A few of the guys from when we were here, but we're a championship-caliber team when we put our mind to it," said Paul, who won the Rookie of the Year award in his first season in Oklahoma City in 2005-06.

Oklahoma City's new team - the former Seattle SuperSonics - have gotten off to an awful start.

Coming off a franchise-worst 20-win season, the Thunder have dropped 10 straight following an 88-85 win over Minnesota on Nov. 2. The Sonics lost 11 consecutive games from March 4-22 after a franchise-worst 14 in a row from Dec. 31-Jan. 27.

Oklahoma City's defense has been nonexistent lately, as it has allowed at least 100 points in each of its last seven games, yielding an average of 107.9 points.

On Friday, the Thunder trailed by as many as 32, committed a season-high 26 turnovers and shot a season-low 36.6 percent. They've been outscored by an average of 20.3 points in their last four games.

Oklahoma City's Nick Collison had 16 points and 13 rebounds on Friday, and suggested the team should stay positive by taking a step back and realizing they can't complain when other people are losing their jobs in a fading economy.

"No one should feel sorry for us," Collison said. "We're in a good situation. We've just got to try to play the best we can. That's all we can really do. We can't control much else."

New Orleans has won six straight games over the Oklahoma City franchise, and its last six home games against them.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 22, 2008


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