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Anderson's big second quarter helps lift Hornets

The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- When NBA 3-point leader Ryan Anderson is knocking down long-range jumpers at will, life suddenly is easy for the New Orleans Hornets.

Anderson came off the bench to score 17 of his team-high 27 points in the second quarter -- including 5 of 8 shots from 3-point range -- and his offensive outburst was enough to make up for a the Hornets' lackluster defensive play in the second half.

The result was a 114-105 victory over the Sacramento Kings Monday at the New Orleans Arena.

"I think I'm going to have a good shooting night every night," Anderson said after sparking the Hornets to a 64-39 halftime lead, hitting most of his jumpers after the Kings left him wide open.

"Greivis (Vasquez) and the guards did a great job of finding me, and the bigs did a great job of running to distract the defense a little bit. We did a great job of guarding in that quarter, so it really opened up our shots."

Anderson finished 7 of 14 from long range and has a league-high 125 3-pointers. His instant offense keyed a 37-23 second quarter in which the Hornets held the Kings to 34.1 percent shooting. The Hornets built a 64-39 halftime lead, matching their highest offensive output of the season.

In winning their seventh game in nine outings, the Hornets (14-27) had a scary moment late in the second quarter when No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis winced in pain after rolling his left foot on the foot of an official. The prognosis was a sprained left ankle -- the same ankle that caused Davis to miss 11 consecutive games earlier this season when he suffered a stress reaction.

But Davis insisted the sprain would not sideline him for the Hornets' next game Wednesday night at the San Antonio Spurs. He was X-rayed as a precaution. Until the injury, he was quite effective, especially on the offensive boards, scoring 11 points and grabbing six rebounds.

"It's good," Davis said of the ankle. "I came down on the ref's foot. You want to be on the floor, but you can't stop injuries. It happens. I've just got to find a way to overcome it."

The Hornets stretched their lead to 76-49 midway through the third quarter, but the Kings (16-26) went on a 23-4 run over a 5:18 span, with Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas scoring seven points each, to cut the deficit to 80-72. The Kings scored 22 points in the paint in a 37-23 third quarter, and that didn't leave Hornets coach Monty Williams thrilled.

"We got a win, and that's the most important thing, obviously," Williams said. "We didn't like the sloppy play in the second half ... but the good thing is our guys felt badly about it. Our guys are stinging a little bit, but that is something we can grow from."

With the Hornets leading 91-81, Anderson hit back-to-back 3s to pad the margin. The Kings again cut the deficit to 104-97 with 3:13 left, but the Hornets scored five straight on a 16-foot jumper by Eric Gordon (16 points) and a 25-footer from the top of the key by Vasquez (19 points and 11 assists) with the shot clock winding down.

"We did a good job of getting back in the game," said Sacramento coach Keith Smart. "But at the end Greivis hit about a 30-foot shot that really hurt us. It was just too big a hole for us to dig out of."

The Kings got a game-high 29 points from DeMarcus Cousins, including 21 in the second half, but it wasn't nearly enough.

"We've got to come out ready to play," Cousins said. "We were playing catch-up the rest of the game. Just our energy alone got us back in the game. If we had done that at the beginning of the game, it probably would have been a different story."

The Hornets also got 14 points and 11 rebounds from Al-Farouq Aminu. The Hornets outrebounded the Kings 49-36 and had a 12-3 edge on the Kings in 3-pointers.

Notes: The Hornets also held a 25-10 edge on the Kings in second-chance points. ... In the face of reports that the Kings would be sold to a Seattle-based group and relocated to Seattle in time for next season, Smart remained resolute in focusing on what he and his team could control. "My job as a coach and the job of the players doesn't change," Smart said. "We have to go about our business of winning games. I think everyone else who's involved (within the organization), it puts them up in arms a little bit. It's a tough thing for our team, our organization. ... We feel for the fans that have been there for us but this is the nature of the business." ... Kings guard Isaiah Thomas, who grew up in Tacoma, Wash., said he was a Seattle fan as a child. "It's just a little weird (but) at the same time I love Sacramento," Thomas said. "I love everything about it. Love the fans, the organization just brought me in with open arms. I just love both cities. It's out of my control." ... The Kings dropped to 4-16 on the road. ... Hornets backup point guard Brian Roberts returned to action after missing two games with a sprained left ankle.... Vasquez's 19 points and 11 assists gave him his 14th double-double of the season.
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