Sacramento, CA – Everyone is curious to know what’s the secret for a great start this season. The New Orleans Hornets struggled pre-season losing up to seven games. Yet, they managed to turn things around to have one of the best starts leading the western conference.
“Down the stretch we made a few adjustments but guys made plays,” said coach Monty Williams. “Our key every night is defense, we want to defend, rebound and run with a purpose.” “That’s who we are every night!”
The Hornets came into Arco Arena to notch their eleventh win defeating the Kings 75-71. Once again Sacramento was left baffled with another loss . They held the lead through most of the first half until final seconds of the second quarter.
Donte Greene earned his third consecutive start and lead all scores with a team-high 15 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and an assist. Greene ranks second behind Tyreke Evans with 26 shots in the last two games. While he hasn’t been the player you write about every night, he’s been improving.
“Donte has done good a job” coach Paul Westphal said. “Despite his troubles in the past of learning his position, he is constantly improving and that’s a good thing.”
The Kings dominated with rebounds and on offense at the start of the game but by the end of the second quarter New Orleans got back in it. With seconds left on the clock, Trevor Arzia hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to tie the game. Sacramento’s 13-point lead had quickly vanished.
“Some of those turnovers were bad,” said Evans. “At the end of the day we still played a good game and that’s no excuse for us to lose the game.” “In the fourth quarter, we were right there but just couldn’t make the shots.”
In the first half the Hornets were a held a season-low 14 points to end the half tied 39-39. The Kings then committed 22 turnovers which led to 23-points for New Orleans to regain control in the fourth quarter.
“This is like a family,” Chris Paul said. “Guys are really close, when we’re on that court we understand we’re not playing for ourselves but for each other.” “Everyone wants to see each other succeed and that’s the key to our chemistry as a team.”
There’s a light at the end of every tunnel, this young team still has time to figure it out. While it’s still one month into the season Sacramento may need to find their chemistry. The biggest hurdle has been playing defense throughout the entire game. The effort in the first half was excellent but by the second half they failed tremendously.
I don’t think words can describe the frustration or lack of consistency at this time. The main focus is getting better, the Kings know the results by not playing good defense. It’s going to take a team effort from all to overcome these loses, everyday will be work in progress.
“It’s a shame to play that well defensively against a team with one of the best records in basketball,” Westphal said. “To walk out with the loss, I don’t know if we can play any better defense.”
Written by: Malaika Bobino