Sunday, April 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Davis, Gordon lead Hornets past Kings 110-95

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Hornets fans received a glimpse of the future while enjoying the present on Sunday night.

Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon, the franchise’s marquee tandem, combined for 37 points to help the Hornets snap a three-game losing streak with a 110-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

Davis had 20 points and eight rebounds, while Gordon had 17 points and a season-high eight assists to help New Orleans get its first win since the All-Star break.

Ryan Anderson scored 17 points, Roger Mason 13, and Robin Lopez and Greivis Vasquez 12 each for New Orleans, which improved to 18-12 when holding its opponent to less than 100 points. Vasquez also had 13 assists.

“I had to be aggressive,” said Davis, who was 9 of 14 from the field. “I was just being active, moving around. I had to stop settling for jump shots and start attacking the basket.”

John Salmons scored all of his 18 points in the second half, and Jason Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, and Isaiah Thomas added 16 each for the Kings, who lost their fifth consecutive game and eighth straight on the road.

Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton chipped in with 12 points apiece for Sacramento.

“I thought we played a great game up until about five minutes and 23 seconds,” Sacramento coach Keith Smart said. “We just didn’t manage that moment, that little pocket of the game.”

The Hornets increased a 53-47 halftime lead to 73-60 late in the third quarter thanks in large part to a flurry of dunks. During a six-minute stretch of the quarter, 10 of the Hornets’ 13 points came on dunks, including two by Davis and one each by Gordon, Lopez and Al-Farouq Aminu.

Sacramento closed to within a basket twice late in the quarter but six consecutive points by Vasquez gave the Hornets a 79-73 lead entering the final 12 minutes.

A 17-7 spurt to open the fourth broke it open for the Hornets, giving New Orleans a 96-83 lead with 6:05 remaining.

Jason Smith had four of his eight points during the surge.

“(Smith’s) energy is something we’ve been riding all year along,” Williams said. “He was in the paint all night long and knocked down a couple of jump shots. I feel he’s an X factor for us.”

New Orleans found little resistance in the lane, whether it was Davis or Lopez roaming uncontested or their teammates scurrying free off of a pick and roll. The Hornets outscored the Kings 62-44 in the paint, a season high for New Orleans.

The Kings scored 30 points in the lane in the first half but were held to 14 in the second.

“We knew we needed to match Sacramento’s energy,” Anderson said. “That’s a team that really thrives on that. It fueled us getting those alley-oop dunks and getting those wide open shots.”

Davis, who sat out most of the final two quarters Friday against Dallas with a knee injury, scored 12 points in the first half in leading the Hornets to a 53-47 lead at the break. Davis was 5 of 7 from the field, including a pair of highlight-reel dunks on fast breaks, one coming on a Gordon assist and the other on a nifty pass from Vasquez.

“Tonight you got a little taste of what (Davis) can do every night,” Anderson said. “He’s learning, still learning as a player how he can be most effective. Tonight this is the way he can play.”

NOTES: Newly acquired C Cole Aldrich was not with the Kings on Sunday, Sacramento coach Keith Smart said before the game. Smart said Aldrich was in Sacramento for additional medical tests. Aldrich, along with Toney Douglas and Patrick Patterson were acquired in a trade with the Houston Rockets this past week in exchange for Thomas Robinson. Douglas and Patterson were with the team and Patterson scored 2 points. Douglas did not play.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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