The New Orleans Hornets’ winning streak has reached 10, but the last two games haven’t been easy.
That was also true of their last two meetings with the Sacramento Kings.
The Hornets look to set a franchise winning streak Saturday night when they visit the Kings, a last-place team hoping to build off a stunning victory over the two-time defending champions.
New Orleans (31-16) matched the club’s longest winning streak set Feb. 21-March 13, 1998, with a 112-103 victory at Golden State on Wednesday. The Hornets haven’t lost since a 101-97 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 7.
Paul, named this week as an All-Star for the fourth time, didn’t display any adverse effects after rolling his ankle Monday. The 17 assists were his second-most of the season.
The Hornets shot a season-best 62.2 percent and seemed on their way to an easy victory, but the Warriors took advantage of 23 New Orleans turnovers and closed within four points in the fourth quarter.
“We’re not going to nitpick, but it’s one of those things where we don’t want to lose our rhythm because we think we’re better than we are,” said coach Monty Williams, whose team was coming off a 91-89 win over Oklahoma City on Monday after David West(notes) hit a fadeaway jumper with 0.5 seconds left. “We’re winning games because we play a certain way. And when we don’t, it doesn’t look good.”
New Orleans has defeated Sacramento (11-33) twice this season, but the wins were by a combined seven points. In a 94-91 victory Dec. 15, the Hornets had to overcome a 23-point second-half deficit. Paul had 22 points and 11 assists in the game.
New Orleans comes into Arco Arena, where it shot 32.2 percent in a 75-71 win over Sacramento on Nov. 21, looking to extend the NBA’s longest active winning streak. However, the Kings (11-33) are coming off their biggest win of the season.
They are looking to win back-to-back games for the second time this season and first since Oct. 30 and Nov. 1. Sacramento, which has the second-worst record in the West, pulled off a stunning 100-95 road win over the Lakers on Friday.
The Kings went on an 18-4 run after halftime, and eventually went ahead 81-61 midway through the third quarter.
“Obviously they’re the best team in the league, they’re the champions, and it feels good,” Casspi said. “It’s a great way to get our first win down here together, and it’s a great way to start a tough stretch of games. We feel really good.”
Sacramento is hoping the win provides much-needed momentum with the team about to open a brutal six-game homestand that includes games against Boston, San Antonio, Utah, Dallas and Oklahoma City.