Magic-Hornets Preview

The Associated Press

Even with a key piece of their frontcourt out due to injury, the New Orleans Hornets remained competitive at home in their latest victory.

The Hornets hope to continue that trend against an Orlando Magic team that has struggled to find wins regardless of venue.

New Orleans will try to keep pushing forward without rookie Anthony Davis on Monday night when they seek their sixth straight win over the plummeting Magic.

While the Hornets (21-39) won for only the second time in seven games overall with a 100-95 win over Detroit on Friday, they've been playing much tougher in New Orleans recently. They're 8-5 at home since Jan. 7, and three of those losses have been by only four points.

Greivis Vasquez made certain the Hornets did not come up short again on Friday. He capped a 25-point, nine-assist performance by hitting a floater with 12 seconds left to help the team snap a two-game skid.

"In my head I've got all the games that we couldn't close and we lost,'' Vasquez said. "That was one thing I got in my mind at the end when I took the last shot."

Vasquez also played a big role with a season-high 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds in a 97-94 victory at Orlando on Dec. 26. Robin Lopez led the way with 29 on a combined 20 for 22 shooting from the field and free throw line.

Davis - the first overall pick in the draft - added 12 points and 11 rebounds in that meeting, but will miss his third straight game because of a left shoulder sprain.

The Hornets have also lost Jason Smith for the rest of the season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The reserve center was averaging 8.2 points and 3.6 boards off the bench.

After getting outrebounded 48-25 in a season-worst 119-74 loss at Oklahoma City on Wednesday without the two big men, New Orleans had a 47-40 edge over the Pistons as Al-Farouq Aminu and Ryan Anderson combined for 27.

"We need to really get to the boards a little bit more, so that's something I came out and knew I needed to do,'' said Anderson, who had 19 points and 13 rebounds.

Now the Hornets look to match that effort against the Magic, who own a minus-4.0 rebounding margin in their last eight games. Orlando (16-44), which has lost 31 of 35 overall, has also given up an average of 117.0 points during its three-game losing streak.

Arron Afflalo and E'Twaun Moore each had 12 points in a 108-82 loss to Memphis on Sunday, while trade-deadline acquisition Tobias Harris finished with just six on 3-of-14 shooting. Harris had averaged 20.0 points on 69.6 percent shooting in his first four games with Orlando.

"I thought they might have been keying in a little bit,'' he said. "But as a player that when you have to adapt to what the other team is doing.''

Jameer Nelson, meanwhile, is a game-time decision after missing his sixth straight on Sunday with a bruised knee. Nelson had 28 points and 10 assists in the first meeting with the Hornets, but has totaled four points on 2-of-13 shooting in his last two in New Orleans.

The Magic seek their second straight road win after dropping 14 of their previous 15 by an average of 11.2 points. They've lost four straight in New Orleans since a 95-88 victory on Nov. 19, 2007.

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