Davis, the NBA’s fifth-leading scorer at 23.4 points per game, sprained his left ankle midway through the fourth quarter of Monday’s 97-90 loss to Minnesota. When Davis hopped to the locker room, his team—trailing by only a point when he left—lost its composure.
And so did coach Tim Floyd, who went crazy after Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett got fouled instead of being called for a travel. Floyd chucked his jacket off, kicked a bouncing ball into the seats, got ejected and angrily chased after referee Phil Robinson.
“Let us determine the outcome of the game,” said Hornets forward P.J. Brown. “I’ll pay coach’s fine. I’ll pay his thousand dollars. That was ridiculous. He had a reason to explode like that.”
Added Floyd, “It felt like we didn’t get a break down the stretch.”
Davis, whose x-rays came back negative, will be one of six players currently inactive due to injury for the Hornets. David Wesley, the team’s second-leading scorer, and Jamal Mashburn, New Orleans’ leading scorer last season, already are on the injured list.
“I heard it pop before I jumped, so I called timeout,” said Davis, who played his first 3 1/2 seasons without missing a game until last season.
The Hornets, losers of five of their last six, are in the middle of a difficult stretch that features games against defending NBA champion San Antonio, Milwaukee and a home-and-home series with Philadelphia.
The 76ers have experienced their own troubles recently, and coach Randy Ayers voiced his frustration a 90-81 loss to the struggling Seattle SuperSonics on Monday.
Philadelphia blew a 19-point halftime lead in the loss and fell five games below .500 for the first time since Jan. 9, 2002, when it was 15-20.
“I had a little bit more to say (in the locker room) tonight,” said Ayers, in his first year after taking over for Larry Brown.
NBA leading scorer Allen Iverson was held to 18 points on 7-of-22 shooting, while Glenn Robinson scored a team-high 27 points. It was the third straight setback for the 76ers, who fell into a tie with the New York Knicks for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Iverson was asked about Ayers after the game.
Snow, the lone starter to play in every game this season, left Monday’s game in the fourth quarter with a lower leg contusion. He is listed as day-to-day.
STANDINGS (through Jan. 19): 76ers - 3rd place (tied), 4 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. Hornets - 3rd place, 8 GB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: 76ers - Iverson, 27.1 ppg; Thomas, 9.6 rpg; Snow, 7.2 apg. Hornets - Davis, 23.4 ppg and 8 apg; Magloire and Brown, 9.2 rpg.
SEASON SERIES: Hornets, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 5; Hornets, 106-99, OT. At Philadelphia, Davis scored 18 of his 37 points on 3s and Smith added 16 points off the bench in the first meeting between these teams since Philadelphia beat the Hornets to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: 76ers - 8-13 on the road; Hornets - 12-7 at home.
INJURIES: 76ers - G Snow (leg); C Todd MacCulloch (foot); C Marc Jackson (finger); G Willie Greene (thumb). Hornets - G Davis (ankle); G Wesley (toe); F Jamal Mashburn (knee); G Courtney Alexander (Achilles’); C Sean Rooks (ankle); F David West (knee).