The New Orleans Hornets traveled to the US Airways Center in Phoenix on Friday night to play the Suns for their third consecutive road game. Despite a career performance by Hornets forward Ryan Anderson, and a confident double-double contributed by guard Greivis Vasquez, the Hornets were unable to seal the victory.
This is the sixth-straight loss for New Orleans, the last two in overtime.
The Suns outscored the Hornets 8-5 in the extra period, the go ahead points scored by Suns’ guard Goran Drajic when he sank an 18-foot jump shot. The Suns pulled ahead, 108-103, with a 3-pointer by Markieff Morris. The Hornets responded with a long 2-point shot by Anderson, closing the gap to 108-105, and then proceeded to foul in order to slow the clock. Hornets guard Roger Mason, Jr., who replaced Austin Rivers as starting guard, knocked down a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining, bringing New Orleans within two. Vasquez fouled Morris, who shot 50% at the line, and with .9 seconds left the Hornets fell short on a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer by Mason.
The Hornets played a terrific first half, shooting 53% from the field, and out-rebounding the Suns 25-16. Both Vasquez and Al-Farouq Animu were perfect from the field in the first two quarters (Vasquez 7-7, Aminu 4-4), contributing a combined 26 points, including free throws.
A mercurial second half saw the Hornets ahead by 19 at one point, led by Ryan Anderson. But the Suns whittled away at the lead, going on a 34-7 run led by Drajic, who answered Anderson’s 3-pointers with a trio of his own. Drajic shot 71% from the field and scored 14 points overall in the half. With 17.8 seconds left in regulation, Vasquez buried a pull-up three to tie the game at 103 and send the contest into overtime.
Hornets offensive highlights included Ryan Anderson scoring a career-high 34 points, 8-13 from three-point range, and grabbing 11rebounds. Vasquez scored 25 points and 14 assists, in his third double-double of the season. Aminu shot 85% from the field, putting up 16 points. Off the bench, Lance Thomas helped out with eight points.
For Phoenix, P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris both put up career-high numbers, Tucker with 15 points and Morris with 23.
Hornets forward Jason Smith suffered an injury to his eye after only 32 seconds of play, and was out the rest of the game. Depending on the severity of Smith’s injury and Anthony Davis’ lingering left ankle problems, New Orleans could be without two of their big men in the upcoming contest against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.