The New Orleans Hornets racked up the franchise's most points in a single game this season on their way to a 114-105 victory over the Sacramento Kings Monday afternoon in the New Orleans Arena.
The Hornets blew the game open early, heading into the half up 64-39, and leading by 27 at one point in the third. The Kings staged a third quarter comeback, crawling back to within seven late in the fourth, but were unable to surmount the Hornets’ strong defensive effort.
New Orleans center Ryan Anderson came into the game leading the league in three-pointers with 118 (on 39.4% shooting from outside), and tallied another seven today, including 5-8 in the first half, and 19 total points.
“Ryan Anderson did what they brought him here to do, and that was to shoot threes” said Kings Head Coach Keith Smart after the game.
“We had a few good threes, but Ryan can really shoot the ball,” said Hornets Forward Al-Farouq Aminu. “If he gets hot, it’s a beautiful thing to see.”
Hornets rookie Anthony Davis also turned in a stellar performance in the first half, before injuring his left ankle at the end of the second quarter. He shot 5-7, pulled in six rebounds, and blocked three shots during his 15:20 on the floor.
It’s the same ankle Davis injured at the start of the season, when he missed 11 games with a stress reaction. Davis left at the half and didn’t return.
The Kings shots just 34% in the first half, but went on a 23-4 run over 5:18 in the third quarter to get back in the game. Sacramento outscored the Hornets 37-23 in the third, including 22 points in the paint. The Hornets gave up 60 total points in the paint today.
Greivis Vasquez finally took the air out of the Kings’ scoring run with a pull-up jumper from 15 feet out with just under a minute to play in the third quarter. Vasquez had nine points in the third, on his way to his 14th double-double of the season, finishing the game with 19 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.
"Our defense turned up and started playing together more,” said Kings Center DeMarcus Cousins on their third-quarter comeback. “Our energy picked up — just our energy alone helped us get back into the game. If we had done that in the beginning of the game, it probably would have been a different story.”
Cousins recorded his 19th double-double of the season today, with 29 points and 13 rebounds. He leads the Kings in both categories.
The Kings’ 37 points are the most by a Hornets opponent in the third quarter this season.
Former Hornet (and current King) Marcus Thornton, on being back in New Orleans: “It always feels good to come back home and see family and friends. Just being in the Arena [is great]. Period. These fans gave me so much love, and they still continue to show me love.”
The Kings are in the process of being sold to a group that wants to bring them to Seattle. Seattle has been without an NBA team since the Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder. Said Kings Coach Keith Smart on the possible move:
My job as a coach and the job of the players doesn’t change. We have to go about our business of winning games. It’s always tough on the people involved, as any time change takes place there is a lot of uncertainty. We feel for the fans that have been there for us, but this is the nature of the business. From a coach’s standpoint, I’ve got to get this team ready to play, night in and night out. The players have a great ability to put situations like this aside and play the game without letting it affect them.