As much as the New Orleans Hornets might miss big man Anthony Davis, there's probably little he could do about their defensive problems on the perimeter.
Opponents are hitting 3-pointers at an alarming rate against the Hornets, who could be without Davis again as they try to avoid a sixth straight loss Friday night in a road game against the Phoenix Suns.
Davis has missed the past two games with an ankle injury after sitting out a pair earlier this month due to a concussion. It remains unclear when or if the top overall pick will return on New Orleans' four-game road trip, which began Wednesday with a 115-107 overtime loss to Indiana.
The 15 3-pointers the Pacers hit - in 27 attempts - were the most by a Hornets opponent since the 2010-11 season. Indiana's Paul George had no more than 20 points or four 3s in a game this season, but he was 9 of 13 from beyond the arc and scored 37.
"When teams are hitting 3s like that, you just have to tip your hat to 'em," coach Monty Williams said. "Some of those shots were just like, it wasn't our night. Some of 'em, we lost guys. That's unforgivable."
The Hornets (3-7) have let the opposition make 56 of 117 (47.9 percent) from beyond the arc over the past four games. No other team has given up more than 45 3s in its last four.
They've surrendered at least 100 points in every contest during their five-game losing streak after holding each of their first five opponents under that mark. New Orleans is forcing a Western Conference-low 12.7 turnovers per game.
"We're still learning the rotations of the defense," center Jason Smith said. "... It's really one of our things that we're trying to emphasize to guys, play defense first and things will come easy on offense. I think we just gotta get better at that defensive end. We're giving up too many 3s."
Ryan Anderson has made 8 of 13 from 3-point range starting the last two games in place of Davis, who is averaging 16.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.
Fellow Hornets big man Robin Lopez had season highs of 21 points and 13 boards Wednesday but went 3 of 17 from the field. This will be his first time facing the Suns (5-7) since being traded to New Orleans in July.
Lopez's matchup with the man he backed up last season could be a key Friday. Center Marcin Gortat has averaged 17.0 points and shot 63.2 percent in Phoenix's wins, compared to 8.3 and 45.8 percent in its losses.
Gortat's 22 points helped the Suns snap a three-game skid with a 114-87 rout of Portland on Wednesday.
It was their first game since coach Alvin Gentry inserted Markieff Morris and Shannon Brown into the starting lineup for Luis Scola and Jared Dudley. Morris scored a season-high 19 points and Brown added 10. The Suns are 0-4 when Brown fails to score in double figures.
"We came out ready to play," Gortat said. "We had two new guys in the starting lineup and we were a little bit better defensively. It's a great win but we need to forget about it really fast."
This is the first meeting between these teams since last season, when Phoenix lost the first one by one before winning the last three by at least 15 points apiece.
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