San Antonio (24-15) at New Orleans (21-18)

Fair Currently: New Orleans, LA
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 3:30 pm EST Mon Jan 18, 2010
  • TV: FSSW, CST
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New Orleans Hornets struggled during the early portion of the season, but they’re starting to get back on track. Another home game could help them continue that surge.

The Hornets look to win their eighth straight game in New Orleans on Monday when they face the San Antonio Spurs.

New Orleans (21-18) not only lost eight of its first 11 games, but it also had to adjust to the firing of coach Byron Scott, who was let go nine games into the season and replaced by general manager Jeff Bower.

Recent results under Bower have been encouraging. The Hornets won six straight from Dec. 30-Jan. 10, and though they’ve split their last four, they’re coming off a 101-96 win at Indiana on Saturday that put them within a half-game of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“We consider ourselves a work in progress,” forward David West(notes) said after scoring 24 points against the Pacers. “I don’t think we can say we’re at a certain point yet. We just have to continue to play hard and get better because we dug ourselves a hole early.”

West had 18 points and nine rebounds, Emeka Okafor(notes) added 18 and 10 and Chris Paul(notes) scored 26 points with nine assists in a 113-96 season-opening loss in San Antonio on Oct. 28.

The Hornets, though, have won three in a row over the Spurs at New Orleans Arena, where they’ve won seven straight overall to improve to 15-3 at home this season. New Orleans hasn’t had a longer home winning streak since an 11-game run Feb. 27-April 6, 2008.

Paul had 26 points, nine assists and seven rebounds to lead the Hornets to a 90-86 win over the Spurs the last time the teams met in New Orleans on March 29.

San Antonio (24-15) is hoping to finish a challenging road trip on a high note after following a win over Oklahoma City with losses to Charlotte and Memphis, each of which is riding a franchise-best home winning streak.

The Spurs fell 92-86 to the Grizzlies on Saturday. They used a 12-0 run to pull within one point in the final two minutes, but the two-time defending Southwest Division champs could not overcome a 14-point second-half deficit.

“Just a bad game for us that we fought back into, and just couldn’t get over the top,” forward Tim Duncan(notes) said after scoring 23 points with eight rebounds and five blocks.

Duncan, who is averaging 20.8 points and 12.3 boards while posting four straight double-doubles in New Orleans, is 36 points shy of becoming the 35th player in NBA history to reach 20,000.

Richard Jefferson(notes) is barely halfway to that milestone, but he has more immediate concerns. He has totaled 11 points in his last two games and went 0 for 6 from the field Saturday - the first time since Jan. 8, 2006, that he didn’t make a field goal in a game. Jefferson had five points and shot 1 for 7 in the Oct. 28 win over New Orleans.

Paul, who is looking for his eighth straight double-double, is averaging 23.7 points, 12.7 assists and 4.7 boards during the Hornets’ home winning streak against the Spurs.

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Monday, Jan 18