Victories have been hard to come by for the New Orleans Hornets this season.
But when the final buzzer sounded on last night’s 92-89 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks (12-17), the Hornets (6-23) had successfully extended their winning streak to two.
A two-game winning streak does not seem like much of an accomplishment for a 66-game season, but the Hornets have not won back-to-back games since opening the season at 2-0 in late December.
New Orleans began its streak Monday when the team beat the Utah Jazz (14-14), 86-80.
During the victory against Utah, the Hornets outscored the Jazz 25-15 in the third quarter and never looked back.
The Hornets won in a similar fashion against the Bucks, extending a halftime lead to seven and limiting the Bucks to 38 percent from the field through three quarters.
What’s more astonishing than the actual victories is that the Hornets have won without their top three leading scorers – shooting guard Eric Gordon, point guard Jarrett Jack and power forward Carl Landry.
But players like shooting guard Marco Belinelli and center Chris Kaman have stepped up in the absence of these players and have provided the production the team desperately needed.
Belinelli made a career-best six three pointers during the victory against the Bucks last night on his way to a 22-point game. Kaman, who recently rejoined the team after sitting out seven games while the Hornets were trying to trade him, came alive against the Jazz with 27 points and 13 rebounds. He followed that up with another double-double last night when he scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Defense has also played a big role during the winning streak, as the Hornets held the Jazz and the Bucks to well below their season scoring averages.
But that is nothing new for New Orleans head coach Monty Williams, because he has stressed defense during his first two seasons with the team. Last season, the Hornets were No. 5 in the league in scoring defense, holding opponents to 94 points per game. The Hornets have held opponents to 92.9 points per game this season, which is No. 10 in the league.
With the two victories, the Hornets have gone 31-6 during the Williams era when holding opponents to under 90 points.
New Orleans will try to keep its streak alive Friday when the Hornets travel to New York to face the Knicks, who are currently riding a seven-game winning streak of their own.
About the Author
Written by Jarred LeBlanc
A New Orleans native who was a sports writer for the Daily Reveille from 2008 through 2010.