Despite three straight wins, the New Orleans Hornets haven’t been completely satisfied with their effort. A change in philosophy, meanwhile, has the New York Knicks in the midst of a rare successful stretch.
Coming off another close victory, the Hornets return home to face a Knicks team trying to win four in a row for the first time in nearly four years Friday night.
New Orleans (10-11) won 97-96 at Minnesota on Wednesday night, getting a layup by Chris Paul(notes) with 1.4 seconds left to avoid a loss to one of the league’s worst teams. The Hornets were down 16 midway through the third quarter before making a move.
The Hornets needed a layup from Darius Songaila(notes) with 12 seconds left to beat Sacramento 96-94 on Tuesday night. That was New Orleans’ sixth win in a row at home, its longest run there since an 11-game winning streak from Feb. 27-April 6, 2008.
New York (7-15) has a chance to win four straight for the first time since a six-game streak from Jan. 2-13, 2006. The Knicks have been playing better after coach Mike D’Antoni shortened his rotation and put an emphasis on defense.
“Once you start playing and winning and having hope, a lot of this is psychological,” D’Antoni said. “They just have a better feeling about themselves and more confidence, and I think too as we go forward we should be able to get better.”
New York forced 18 turnovers in a 93-84 win over short-handed Portland on Monday night. The Knicks held an opponent under 90 for the first time this season.
While streaky scorer Nate Robinson(notes) was held out of the rotation the past four games, Jared Jeffries(notes) started the last three contests due to his smart play. He drew five offensive fouls over his last two games.
“We need to get wins right now and I think the whole team is taking on the attitude of (doing) whatever it takes,” Jeffries told the Knicks’ official Web site. “I think guys are sacrificing some of their minutes, sacrificing shooting the ball, sacrificing their bodies and putting extra time in the gym to get this team over the hump.”
D’Antoni wanted the veteran center to get more practice time before putting him on the court.