Losses in five of their last six games have dropped the New Orleans Hornets into fifth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
They hope to put an end to that slide by beating one of the teams that is gaining on them as they meet the visiting New York Knicks.
The Hornets boasted a 22-13 mark on Jan. 7 and were challenging for one of the top seeds in the East, but have won just five of 16 since, including Saturday’s 107-97 loss at Milwaukee.
Hornets coach Tim Floyd boiled over in frustration after the defeat, and was looking forward to having some serious practice time to work out his team’s problems.
“We need the time between games to work on things,” Floyd said. ”… As a team, we need the time to get refocused on the basics. We have to get back to working on our fundamentals.”
Veteran power forward P.J. Brown also took his teammates to task.
“Our offense was nowhere to be found. Defensively, it just wasn’t there,” Brown said after the Hornets fell a half-game behind Milwaukee for fourth place in the East.
“We’re kidding ourselves if we think we’re going to do anything postseason-wise playing like that on the defensive end.”
The Hornets have allowed at least 100 points in three of six games after not doing so in any of their previous 13.
The Knicks had a season-high five-game winning streak snapped Tuesday as they dropped a 105-90 decision at Dallas. Stephon Marbury had 24 points and 11 assists for New York, which is three games behind New Orleans for fifth place in the East.
The Knicks are seventh in the conference, 1 1/2 games in front of Boston.
This will be the last game for both teams prior to this weekend’s All-Star break.