The New Orleans Hornets are 4-1 for the second straight season, but they’re hoping the similarities end there.
The Hornets will be trying to bounce back from their first loss of the season and end a seven-game losing streak against San Antonio as they host the Spurs on Friday.
New Orleans matched last season’s start for the best in franchise history with four straight wins before falling 93-90 to Portland on Wednesday. The Hornets lost three straight after their 4-0 start last season and failed to make the playoffs for the third straight season.
Now, the Hornets will be trying to bounce back against the Spurs (4-1), a team they haven’t defeated since an 89-76 home win on Dec. 18, 2005. The reigning NBA champions have outscored New Orleans by an average of nearly 20 points during the streak.
“I didn’t think we’d go 82-0,” point guard Chris Paul said Wednesday. “It was nice to be 4-0, but now we realize we can lose.”
David West had a career high-tying 34 points and 18 rebounds against the Trail Blazers, and Paul chipped in 18 points and 12 assists one night after setting a team record with 21 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers. Peja Stojakovic made a franchise-record 10 3-pointers against the Lakers, but was held to just five points and was 1-of-4 from beyond the arc against the Blazers.
“It’s their (home) opening night, they had the crowd behind them and they had a lot of energy,” Paul said. “I don’t think we did a great job of getting good quality shots, and it was one of those nights.”
“We didn’t play smart down the stretch. We lost our composure in the third, not being smart, technical fouls,” West said. “Tyson lost his cool. I told him he can’t do that. He’s got to be in the game for us. It’s not a smart play at that point of the game.”
The Spurs, meanwhile, bounced back from their first loss with an 88-78 win over Miami on Wednesday. Manu Ginobili had 25 points off the bench and is leading the team at 20.8 points per game.
“I don’t know how I am going to feel by the All-Star break, but at this point it’s the best I have felt since I have been here,” said Ginobili, who averaged 18.0 points in four games against the Hornets last season.
Tony Parker contributed 23 points and Francisco Elson added 12 and 14 rebounds for San Antonio, which continued to struggle on offense after losing 89-81 in Houston the night before. The Spurs averaged 102 points their first three games.
“Maybe I have to do a better job calling the plays or something, but we’re not moving the ball as well as we did in the first three games,” Parker said. “Hopefully we can fix that, because we have a big game on Friday.”