Hornets beat cold-shooting Clippers 108-100
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Emeka Okafor(notes) did a number on Chris Kaman(notes) in the low post at both ends of the court, keeping the 7-foot center’s numbers down and keeping the New Orleans Hornets in the game long enough to pull out a victory.
Okafor, the only player to start all 68 games for the injury-depleted Hornets, had 14 rebounds and 12 points to help them beat the Los Angeles Clippers 108-100 on Monday night. The victory snapped a seven-game road losing streak and completed a four-game season sweep.
“Kaman is an All-Star, but Meke is one of the best defenders in this league,” Hornets rookie Darren Collison(notes) said. “Meke is big and physical, and he can go with pretty much any center in the league. So whenever he steps up to the challenge, this is what we’re going to get out of him. We were definitely conscious of Kaman, but most of the credit goes to Meke. He really did a good job of sizing him up and making it tough for him.”
David West(notes) scored 24 points to help New Orleans notch its 13th straight victory over the Clippers since a 100-90 loss on Jan. 8, 2007, in Oklahoma City, which was the Hornets’ temporary home for one season because of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
Kaman missed 10 of his first 11 shots and was 3 for 15 overall with just eight points in 31 minutes against the Hornets—the same team that ended his career-best streak of six straight 20-point games on Nov. 9 in Los Angeles.
“He just couldn’t hit a jump shot tonight. That was basically it,” teammate Eric Gordon(notes) said. “He missed so many shots, but that happens sometimes. When you miss that many shots, you put yourselves out of it and it gives them a lot more opportunities. Luckily we were still in the game.”
The Clippers led 50-46 at halftime despite Kaman’s horrendous shooting, as Rasual Butler(notes), Drew Gooden(notes) and Baron Davis(notes) all reached double digits. Kaman’s only points in the half were the result of a short turnaround hook shot with 11:50 left in the second quarter. He didn’t make another basket until Davis set him up for a dunk with 7:43 left in the third.
Gordon also struggled, missing all seven shots from 3-point range. He was 3 for 12 overall with 10 points after missing the previous five games with a groin injury.
“I was moving around pretty good and getting to the rim, but my timing was off on my jumper,” Gordon said. “I hadn’t been shooting that much in the past week because they kept me off the court and told me to rest it. That’s why I was rusty on my jump shot.”
The lead changed hands five times early in the fourth quarter before the Hornets went on a 15-2 run and opened a 102-89 lead with 4:03 remaining. Morris Peterson(notes) broke an 87-all tie with a 3-pointer, reserve Marcus Thornton(notes) added two more 3s during the rally and West capped it with a 19-footer.
Collison, New Orleans’ first-round draft pick out of UCLA, had 18 points and 14 assists. James Posey(notes), who wasn’t able to travel with the team to Phoenix because of flulike symptoms, rejoined them at Staples Center but didn’t play.
The Clippers lost their eighth straight game overall and 10th in their last 11. Davis had 18 points and 17 assists after getting in early foul trouble.
“Some guys are playing hard, but we’re not getting the collective effort out of everybody night in and night out,” Davis said. “It’s hard to win is you don’t have 15 guys focusing on winning.
“We’re going through a tough stretch, so I’m just trying to encourage my teammates and be as positive as I possibly can, as well as focus on my game and getting back to what I am and what I should be doing out there,” Davis added. “I just come to the arena and play hard, try to constantly improve and build for next year. Hopefully I can set some type of example.”
NOTES: Clippers F Blake Griffin(notes), the No. 1 overall pick in the draft whose rookie season was derailed because a stress fracture in his left kneecap that occurred in the team’s final preseason game, turns 21 years old on Tuesday. Griffin underwent surgery on Jan. 20, and is expected to be ready for the start of camp next fall. … Hornets backup C Sean Marks(notes) underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder Monday. The 34-year-old New Zealander played only 75 minutes this season, spanning 14 games. He appeared in a career-high 60 games last season with New Orleans after stints with Toronto, Miami, San Antonio and Phoenix. … The Clippers are 4-15 since Kim Hughes replaced Mike Dunleavy as coach, and 0-4 since Neil Olshey assumed Dunleavy’s duties as general manager. … The Hornets are 30-29 since general manager Jeff Bower took over as coach when Byron Scott was fired on Nov. 12—including a 110-102 win at New Orleans in Bower’s first game in the dual role. … The Clippers are one of three teams that have active losing streaks of eight or more games, along with Minnesota and Washington. Chicago is on a seven-game slide. … Clippers reserve forward Craig Smith(notes) wasn’t able to play because of a migraine.