The Hornets haven’t missed a beat with star rookie Chris Paul out of the lineup.
New Orleans hopes to have Paul back and go for its sixth straight home win when it meets the Washington Wizards in Oklahoma City.
Paul, a leading candidate for rookie of the year honors, has missed the last two games with bruised ribs suffered in 109-102 win Wednesday over the Seattle SuperSonics.
New Orleans managed to win both games without him behind the solid play of Speedy Claxton.
Claxton averaged 23.0 points and 9.0 assists in the two wins after helping lead the Hornets Saturday past the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-94.
Claxton came up big down the stretch with six points and an assist in the final two minutes against the Wolves. He finished with 28 points and seven assists.
“I feel comfortable in the starting role,” he said. “I’ve started a number of games in my career, so it’s nothing new to me.”
Claxton had 18 points and 11 assists Friday in a 111-100 win over the New York Knicks.
Coach Byron Scott indicated Paul, who took part in a light workout before the game Saturday, might return Monday.
Scott also credited Claxton for filling in well.
“We’re starting to get that confidence that we can win no matter who’s in the lineup, and that’s a good feeling,” Scott said. “As much as we miss CP (Paul)—and you can really look at it in the stats when you look at transition points, because we really push it when he is in.
“Speedy is not that type of guard, but just our resiliency to show that we can hang in there, hang in there and give us a chance to win at the end—and then pull it out—is something I am very proud of.”
The Hornets, who have won three straight overall, are just 10-11 against Eastern Conference foes.
Washington is trying to extend its season-high winning streak to six games after completing a perfect five-game homestand with a 107-97 win Sunday over the Philadelphia 76ers.
It’s the Wizards’ longest winning streak since a seven-game run from Jan. 2-15, 2005
“We’re rolling right now and we’re feeling good about what we’re doing,” Wizards All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas said. “If you look at the last 20 games, we’re probably up there with the top three (teams) in the league.
“We’re just trying to milk everybody in so when it’s time to push, we’re ready to go.”
Washington is hoping that the strong homestand will carry over on a two-game road trip that concludes in Dallas on Wednesday—its final game before the All-Star break.
“We really want to go into the All-Star break strong, so we’d like to finish up on a positive note by beating New Orleans and Dallas,” center Brendan Haywood said. “That would be very big, especially because of the way Dallas has been playing.”