Golden State (17-45) at New Orleans (31-32)

Fair Currently: New Orleans, LA
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Mon Mar 8, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With three-time All-Star Chris Paul(notes) still out and a difficult schedule looming, the New Orleans Hornets’ playoff chances appear to be dwindling.

A home game against the lowly Golden State Warriors might be what the team needs to restore its confidence.

The Hornets look to avoid losing five straight games for the first time in three years Monday night when they face a Warriors team that has just one road win in the past three months.

After making the playoffs each of the past two seasons, New Orleans (31-32) is just one defeat away from matching last season’s loss total. The Hornets have dropped five of six to drop to 11th place in the Western Conference, and fell under .500 for the first time since Jan. 2 with Friday’s 102-91 loss to San Antonio.

“I just don’t think we’re in a rhythm as a team,” forward David West(notes) said.

Climbing back into the playoff picture won’t be easy, especially with Paul expected to be out another week.

After this game, the Hornets, who are 6-11 since Paul injured his left knee, will be on the road for six of seven with the lone home contest coming against Northwest Division-leading Denver. New Orleans will also face only seven teams with losing records in its final 19 games.

The Warriors (17-45) are one of those sub-.500 teams, and they’ve been experiencing even more problems than the Hornets.

Golden State, which is without leading scorer Monta Ellis(notes) (sore back), has lost the first four contests of a five-game trip and is 1-18 on the road since Dec. 11. The Warriors lost to Charlotte 101-90 on Saturday, their 17th defeat in 21 games.

The Hornets have won the first two meetings of the season with Golden State, but Paul was instrumental to New Orleans’ success. He hit a turnaround fadeaway with 12.6 seconds left in a 108-102 home victory over the Warriors on Dec. 23 and finished with 38 points in a 123-110 victory at Golden State on Jan. 27.

Rookie point guard Darren Collison(notes) is doing a sound job as Paul’s replacement, scoring at least 32 points in two of the last four games, but offense hasn’t been the Hornets’ problem lately.

New Orleans, which hasn’t lost five straight since a six-game skid March 2-13, 2007, is allowing an average of 105.0 points on 51.3 percent shooting during its losing streak.

“These last four games that we’ve been losing has nothing to do with our offense. It has everything to do with our defense,” Collison said.

The Hornets, losers of 10 of 11 when allowing at least 100 points since Feb. 1, could be in store for another tough defensive game.

The Warriors are one of the league’s highest-scoring teams with an average of 106.8 points per game, but they shot just 38.2 percent in Saturday’s loss.

Stephen Curry(notes) scored a game-high 25 points while missing 15 of 23 shots against the Bobcats in his first game as a pro in his hometown. The former Davidson star is averaging 23.6 points in his last eight games - 7.6 better than his season average.

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Monday, Mar 8