Hornets 94, Bobcats 85

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NEW ORLEANS (AP)—Dan Dickau has been so concerned with simply establishing himself as a legitimate NBA point guard that he hasn’t had time to think of himself as a serious scoring threat.

But that is what he has become for the New Orleans Hornets.

“When you don’t think about it, things like that happen, I guess,” Dickau said.

Dickau scored 18 points, hitting four 3-pointers in the second half, to lead the Hornets to a 94-85 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

It was the 21st game in a row Dickau has scored in double figures. He has averaged 14.5 points since coming to New Orleans, second among active players to only Lee Nailon (15.3).

The 6-foot Dickau is in his third season, but the first in which he has averaged double-digit minutes.

“Dickau made some big shots,” Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “He floats behind screens. When you’re small like that the recognition of when you’re open is important. He knows when he’s open and he pulls the trigger. The guys also do a good job of setting screens for him.”

P.J. Brown added 12 points and 15 rebounds, while Nailon finished with 14 points.

Brown and Nailon, the only players on the floor who played for the Hornets during their last season in Charlotte, also played key roles in helping the Hornets split the season series 1-1 with Charlotte’s new team.

Nailon hit a pair of jumpers and scored on a baseline drive in the fourth quarter, then threw a long pass to rookie Jackson Vroman for a fast-break layup that pushed the Hornets’ lead to 91-83.

Brown hit a long jump shot with 2:10 left, with the Hornets clinging to a one-point lead at the time. He later hit two more free throws as New Orleans began to pull away.

Emeka Okafor led Charlotte with 18 points and eight rebounds, keeping the game close early in the final period with a pair of strong inside baskets.

Vroman earned his first career double-double despite shooting 2-of-11 from the field, finishing with 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. J.R. Smith scored 17 points for New Orleans, while reserve center Chris Andersen added 11 points.

Brevin Knight scored 16 for the Bobcats, while Gerald Wallace had 13 points, four blocks and three steals. Primoz Brezec had 12 rebounds for Charlotte.

The game matched two of the NBA’s worst teams (each has only 12 victories) and at times both appeared to play down to the competition. Each team shot only 39.8 percent from the field and they combined to commit 32 turnovers in a generally sloppy game with no sustained pace.

“The Hornets made only 39 percent of their shots, but they made open shots,” Bickerstaff said. “When the game was on the line, they made it.”

Smith had 16 of his points in the first-half, including two 3-pointers and a driving dunk, to help the Hornets build a lead as large as 46-34.

Jason Hart, who finished with 10 points, closed the second quarter with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to leave the score 46-39 at halftime.

Charlotte then went on a 9-0 run early in the second half and cashed in on three turnovers to tie the score at 55 on Knight’s 21-foot jumper and the game remained close until the final minute.

Notes

Kareem Rush went down after running into a pick and had to be helped off the court. Bobcats spokesman Scott Leightman said trainers were concerned about the MCL in Rush’s left knee and that Rush was taken to a New Orleans hospital for an MRI. … Hornets coach Byron Scott said center Jamaal Magloire and forward David West participated in the shootaround Wednesday morning and could be ready to play within two weeks. “(Magloire) did everything—all the offensive drills, shooting drills and ball-handling drills,” Scott said. “After four or five days of conditioning we’ll see where he is and go from there. I want to make sure he’s in great shape for and can run up and down the floor for 30 solid minutes.” … The pregame prayer before all Hornets home games was performed by an evangelist who pleaded for a victory and blamed supernatural powers for New Orleans’ struggles this season. “Satan, take your hands off this team!” bellowed Carol Thomas. “This is a first-class team!” … The Hornets broke a four-game skid and won for the first time in 10 tries with their alternative “Mardi Gras gold” uniforms.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Charlotte
B. Knight B. Knight
8-16,  16 Pts
4 Rebs, 5 Assists
 New Orleans
D. Dickau D. Dickau
6-14,  18 Pts
1 Rebs, 7 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists