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News » Hornets-Pacers Preview 2008-12-28


Hornets-Pacers Preview 2008-12-28


Hornets-Pacers Preview 2008-12-28
The New Orleans Hornets have had their share of problems on offense, particularly on the road over the past month. A matchup at Indiana could give them a spark.

The Hornets return to the road for the first time since their worst scoring game of the season as they face the struggling Pacers on Sunday night.

New Orleans (17-9) is contending for a second straight Southwest Division title, but its success is due mostly to an imposing defense that gives up 91.2 points per game. The Hornets, who score 94.7 points per game, were held to a season-low 68 in a loss at Orlando on Christmas.

It was the third loss in five road games for New Orleans, which scored fewer than 87 points in each of the defeats.

The Hornets were able to bounce back from their loss to the Magic, beating Houston 88-79 at home on Friday night, and they'll now face a Pacers team that has allowed 104.4 points a contest.

Indiana has lost five of its last seven games at Conseco Fieldhouse, giving up 114.1 points per game.

Four of those contests went into overtime. Still, the Pacers surrendered an average of 115.0 points in the games that weren't tied after regulation.

Indiana is 2-17 when opponents score 100 points.

New Orleans hasn't reached 100 points since beating lowly Charlotte 105-89 on Dec. 10. Peja Stojakovic had 17 points in that game, and the Hornets hope to have the veteran forward available.

Stojakovic, who has missed five straight games with a sore back, is listed as day-to-day. New Orleans was also without reserve center Hilton Armstrong, who sprained his right thumb versus Orlando.

Armstrong is also day-to-day as New Orleans tries to put together consecutive wins after losing its previous two.

Hornets coach Byron Scott said he was proud of his team's response after losing to Orlando, but also declared, "Right now we are not one of the elite teams in the league.

"We've got a ways to go. You look at the elite teams, they bring it every night and that's what we've got to get to."

Indiana, last in the Central Division, is far from elite - even with leading scorer Danny Granger. The fourth-year swingman suffered a concussion in the Pacers' 108-105 loss to Memphis on Friday night, and his status for Sunday's game is uncertain.

Granger scored 26 points before colliding with teammate Jarrett Jack with 10:08 to play. Granger went to the locker room and did not return.

"I got hit so hard, it was kind of black," said Granger, who is averaging a career-best 24.5 points per game. "I just stayed down. When I got up, I felt dizzy."

Indiana was already without T.J. Ford (back spasms) in that game. The point guard's status is also uncertain.

Despite the injuries, Pacers coach Jim O'Brien isn't making any excuses.

"We have enough players in uniform and on the court, whether Danny's not in or T.J.'s not in." O'Brien said. "You've got to win a basketball game. It doesn't really matter who's playing."

New Orleans and Indiana split last season's series, with each team winning on the road.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 28, 2008

 

 
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