The slumping New Orleans Hornets, already feeling a sense of urgency, will have to fight their way out of a slump without their second-leading scorer.
New Orleans announced on Monday that Mashburn, who missed the first 44 games of the season because of right knee surgery, will be out for 12 more games due to swelling in the same knee. He has averaged 20.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in the 19 games since his return.
“Every time you lose a player, there’s an adjustment,” Hornets coach Tim Floyd said. “And every time you get a player back, there’s a readjustment to that guy and the chemistry in this league.”
The Hornets won 17 of their first 24 games but have since gone 16-23. New Orleans has lost 11 of 18 since Jan. 30 and has 15 losses against teams with losing records, including an 84-76 loss at Toronto on Sunday.
“We’ve got ourselves in a situation where there’s a sense of urgency—no doubt about that,” general manager Bob Bass said. “I feel better off than those teams below us, but we haven’t played well the last four or five games.”
Mashburn had just nine points and did not play the fourth quarter on Sunday. All-Star Baron Davis, who was taken out of the starting lineup for missing a morning meeting, was just 3-of-12 in 24 minutes before being benched in the fourth as the Hornets shot 35.6 percent from the field.
“We are not helping ourselves losing these kind of games. You’ve got to be professional and bring it every game,” said Jamaal Magloire, who led New Orleans with 23 points and a career-high 21 rebounds in his home town. “Every game from this point forward has playoff implications. We don’t want to start on the road in the playoffs.”
The Hornets, who have never made it past the second round of the playoffs, are tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat, tied for the last playoff spot in the East, have won three straight, scoring at least 100 points in each game.
Rasual Butler scored 19 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, of a 100-89 victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday. Eddie Jones also scored 19 points in his 10th straight consecutive double-figures game, his second-best stretch this season.
Brian Grant finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double in 10 games.