Chris Paul is hurting, but that shouldn’t keep him out of the lineup, good news for the New Orleans Hornets as they try to snap a six-game losing streak in a road matchup with the New York Knicks on Friday night.
The Hornets (28-36) then play Washington on Saturday, a tough two-game trip for a team that has lost five straight away from home. Paul, averaging a team-leading 17.2 points and 8.8 assists, has a stress reaction in his left foot, but shouldn’t miss any time.
The second-year point guard was diagnosed Wednesday after going to the hospital for a routine MRI test. He’s also playing through a sprained left thumb suffered in practice March 3.
“We’ve just got guys who are tired or banged up,” Hornets spokesman Scott Hall said.
That’s bad news for New Orleans, which is on its longest losing streak since an eight-game slide from Feb. 28-March 18, 2006.
Despite the skid, the Hornets remain one game behind Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers, who are tied for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“If we just win a couple of these games, we cover up a lot of ground,” Paul said after the Hornets lost 112-108 to New Jersey on Tuesday. “We’ve just got to keep fighting.”
The Knicks (29-35) have dropped two of three but remain just percentage points behind Orlando for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. The Magic have played two more games than New York and Indiana, which have identical records.
The Knicks lost 104-94 to the Raptors on Wednesday to fall behind Orlando. New York’s leading scorer Eddy Curry had just 13 points, taking only nine shots. It was the second time in three games that the center took only nine shots, and was frustrated afterward.
“It’s tough because from my point of view it seems that I’m open a lot,” said Curry, averaging a career-high 19.2 points. “But I’m not a guard so I can’t see what it is.
“I know it’s not personal. At the time I’d mad, but after the game I realize what’s going on and I’m not mad about the situation. I just want to win.”
Stephon Marbury led New York with 31 points, but the Knicks managed just 18 points in the third quarter and scored less than 100 for the third straight game.
After averaging more than 20 points from December through February, Curry is averaging only 15.6 this month on 44.3 percent shooting, his lowest figure in a month this season.
“He’s trying to put himself in situations where he can get the ball but it’s been hard for him because he has a guy on him and he has a guy in his lap,” Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury said. “He’s working to figure out a way to put himself in a position where he can catch and go right away before the double-team comes.”
The Knicks are beginning a four-game homestand and play six of their next seven at Madison Square Garden. New York had won seven straight at home before a 100-99 loss to Seattle on March 6.
The Hornets have won three straight over the Knicks, including two at MSG. The teams play again March 31 in Oklahoma City.