Milwaukee (25-19) at New Orleans (25-19)

Fair Currently: New Orleans, LA
Temp: 88° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Wed Jan 28, 2004
  • TV: WCGV
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New Orleans Hornets have been riddled with injuries all season. But help is on the way.

All-Star forward Jamal Mashburn has been activated from the injured list and is expected to see his first action of the season for the Hornets as they host the Milwaukee Bucks.

Mashburn has been sidelined since hurting his right knee early in training camp. He had surgery, and missed all eight preseason games and 44 regular season contests.

Mashburn led the team last season with 21.6 points per game and was one of only five NBA players who averaged at least 20 points, six rebounds and five assists.

“It’s been a long process and I don’t know how long I’m going to play or what I’m going to play. But I can count on one thing, I’m going to shoot the ball,” Mashburn said.

At 25-19, the Hornets are tied for third in the Central Division despite key injuries to Mashburn, point guard Baron Davis (ankle) and shooting guard David Wesley (toe).

Davis has led the Hornets on offense in Mashburn’s absence, averaging 23.4 points and 8.0 assists per game. But he’s missed three straight games with an ankle sprain, and Wesley has been out since Jan. 17 with a sprained big toe.

Backup point guard Darrell Armstrong has taken advantage of his increased minutes in Davis’ absence.

Armstrong scored a career-high 35 points, including a 3-pointer from 25 feet with a second left, to give New Orleans a come-from-behind 98-96 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

Armstrong is also anxious to play alongside Mashburn on Wednesday.

“I think the guys are definitely glad to see him. He looks real good,” Armstrong said. “It looks like he’s shooting the ball good and it looks like he’s been working on his game.”

The Bucks have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA over the past month, going 13-3 since Jan. 1. Milwaukee’s latest hot streak has moved it into a tie for third place with the Hornets in the Central.

The Bucks’ success this month has forced teams to take notice.

“I hope teams continue to come in and say, ‘Oh, we got Milwaukee. This and that,”’ Milwaukee forward Tim Thomas said. “I hope every team continues to do that.”

The Bucks have won three straight, including a 93-92 victory over the Spurs on Monday.

Thomas had 22 points and eight rebounds and Michael Redd added 21 points for Milwaukee, including a driving basket over Tim Duncan with 21.9 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner.

STANDINGS (through Jan. 26): Bucks - 3rd place (tied), 7 GB, Central Division. Hornets - 3rd place (tied), 7 GB, Central Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Bucks - F Joe Smith, F Thomas, C Brian Skinner, G T.J. Ford, G Redd. Hornets - F George Lynch, F P.J. Brown, C Jamaal Magloire, G Armstrong, G Steve Smith.

TEAM LEADERS: Bucks - Redd, 21.7 ppg; Smith, 8.5 rpg; Ford, 6.4 apg. Hornets - Davis, 23.4 ppg and 8 apg; Magloire, 9.2 rpg.

SEASON SERIES: Hornets, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 8; Hornets, 91-85. At New Orleans, Magloire had 20 points and 11 rebounds to help New Orleans hold off Milwaukee. Davis added 18 points and 10 assists on a night when he struggled with his shot (6-of-25).

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bucks - 7-14 on the road; Hornets - 13-8 at home.

INJURIES: Bucks - C Joel Przybilla (knee); G Erick Strickland (groin). Hornets - G Davis (ankle); G Wesley (toe); G Courtney Alexander (Achilles’); C Sean Rooks (ankle); F David West (knee).

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