Jazz-Hornets Preview


Led by No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Hornets have some promising young talent. However, it might take some time for the team to produce consistent success.

The new veteran additions for the Utah Jazz could pay off right away.

Davis and the Hornets look to bounce back from a season-opening defeat when they visit the Jazz on Friday night.

In his NBA debut Wednesday, the 6-foot-10 Davis scored 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds in a 99-95 home loss to San Antonio.

"He's only going to get better," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "I love him because he takes losing hard. You can't help but love guys who take it in the heart the way you do."

Davis, who already has lost half as many games as he did in his only season at Kentucky, appears ready to take whatever comes his way in stride.

"I'm just trying to play the game. Go out there and explore," said the 2012 national player of the year and Olympic gold medalist. "If I don't have shots, look for my teammates."

While Davis' overall play helped New Orleans to a four-point lead with less than three minutes to play Wednesday, fellow rookie Austin Rivers hopes for a better performance in this contest. Selected nine picks after Davis, Rivers went 1 of 9 from the field and finished with seven points and three turnovers in 24 minutes.

"I was thinking too much," Rivers said. "Now I know what to do and what not to do. That won't happen again."

The Hornets remained competitive Wednesday despite the absence of fifth-year guard Eric Gordon, out indefinitely with a sore left knee. Gordon averaged 20.6 points in only nine games for New Orleans last season.

Though the Hornets were a Western Conference-worst 21-45 last season, they won two of three versus the Jazz - including both meetings at home.

Mo and Marvin Williams each scored 21 points while Randy Foye added 13 in Utah's 113-94 win over Dallas on Wednesday. The trio accounted for the Jazz's major offseason moves, with the Williams veterans acquired in trades and Foye signed as a free agent.

Those three, along with big men Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, give the Jazz an experienced lineup they hope leads to a second straight playoff berth.

"We know what we bring to the table," Mo Williams said of the new trio. "We're just going to try to bring what we bring, try not to be no more than we are."

Mo Williams, who averaged 13.2 points and 3.1 assists as a reserve for the Los Angeles Clippers last season, is back with a Utah franchise which selected him in the second round of the 2003 draft but let him go after one season.

"I feel home, feel comfortable," he said. "Everything is all good now."

The Jazz should feel good after they held a 61-40 rebounding advantage and a 44-30 edge on points in the paint over the Mavericks, who were coming off a win over the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers. Millsap had 15 rebounds with 13 points while Jefferson added 14 boards and scored 12.

Millsap scored 27 in these teams' last meeting as Utah lost 96-85 at New Orleans on April 13.