Memphis (23-13) at New Orleans (18-19)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Oklahoma City, OK
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Wed Jan 18, 2006
  • TV: FSNO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New Orleans Hornets try to win four straight games for the first time in over two years, and already surpass last season’s win total when they host the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Hornets, who finished a franchise-worst 18-64 in 2004-05, matched last season’s win total with a 107-92 victory over Charlotte on Monday.

At this point last season, New Orleans was 5-32 and had already endured losing streaks of eight, 10 and 11 games.

“In November I knew we were a different team (than last year), and I knew we’d get more wins than that,” New Orleans center P.J. Brown said. “I’m expecting a lot more and hopefully my teammates are feeling the same way.”

The Hornets haven’t won four in a row since December 2003. The victory over the Bobcats was New Orleans’ seventh on the road this season, also matching its total from 2004-05 when it finished 7-34 away from home.

Rookie Chris Paul made a triumphant return to North Carolina, scoring 24 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists Monday as the Hornets won for the sixth time in eight games.

“It gives the team a lot of momentum,” said Paul, an all-American at Wake Forest last year. “Guys are just playing with confidence day in and day out.”

Memphis had won seven of eight before running into defending champion San Antonio. The Grizzlies lost both games of a home-and-home series with the Spurs, including a 93-83 defeat on Monday.

Pau Gasol scored 25 points to lead the Grizzlies, but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter. Memphis missed 10 straight shots at one point, allowing the Spurs to build a 13-point lead.

Despite the back-to-back losses, the Grizzlies are off to the best start in their 11-year history. This is the beginning of a four-game trip for Memphis, which also plays at Philadelphia, Washington and Miami.

“We have to try to get a win,” Memphis center Lorenzen Wright said. “We have to get ready for New Orleans. We play better on the road. We concentrate better. We have to go back to the drawing board and try to take it out on New Orleans. We’ll come out swinging.”

The Grizzlies have won five of the past six meetings between these teams. This contest was originally scheduled to be played in Baton Rouge, La., but the Hornets moved it to Oklahoma City following poor attendance at a game played at LSU in December.

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