Suns
Pelicans
103 - 95 Final
  for this game

Suns deal undermanned Hornets blow in playoff race

Apr 7, 2007 - 6:48 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- Unfortunately for the New Orleans Hornets' playoff chances, the Phoenix Suns could only be held down for so long.

Leandro Barbosa scored 26 points off the bench and Shawn Marion added 20 and 11 rebounds as the Suns took advantage of the depleted Hornets in a 103-95 victory.

The Hornets (35-41) are three games behind the Los Angeles Clippers (37-37) for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with six contests left.

"Well, it would have taken a great effort to beat Phoenix at their best," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Without some of our guys it was obviously a bit tougher. But the window is still open, and we have a chance. As long as we still have a window, we are going to go compete until it's closed."

Steve Nash had 15 points and 12 assists for Phoenix (57-19), which is 2 1/2 games ahead of San Antonio (54-21) for the second seed in the West. The Suns suffered a 92-85 loss to the Spurs on Thursday.

"We just need to get ourselves straightened out right now," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I would have loved to rest some guys, but we couldn't do it, we've got some issues we need to get through, but we just couldn't do it."

In that contest, Phoenix's high-powered offense was ineffective. The Suns - the NBA's highest-scoring squad - shot 39 percent (32-of-83) from the field, including 2-of-11 from the arc, and dished out just 14 assists.

One night later, it was a different story for Phoenix, which shot 51 percent (43-of-85) and handed out 27 assists. Barbosa was 9-of-18 from the floor, including 6-of-9 on 3-pointers, and Marion shot 9-of-12.

"We didn't take care of things (Thursday)," Nash said. "(Friday) kind of took care of itself, and it is nice to know we can take it to that other level. It was tough to get up for it after (Thursday's loss at San Antonio), but we are professionals and this is our job. We need to try to wrap up second place, and we have a lot of work to do."

The Hornets were without three starters, including star guard Chris Paul (ankle), forward Tyson Chandler (toe) and swingman Desmond Mason (nose, cheek bone), after each was injured in Wednesday's 101-92 overtime victory over Seattle.

"The Hornets were very undermanned because of injuries, but they played us hard, and they always play us hard," D'Antoni said. "That's about it. To be honest with you, with the injuries we should be able to overcome guys coming up from the D-League and be able to overcome a team missing the guys they are. We should be able to beat them."

In their absence, David West scored 17 points and Marc Jackson added 16 for the Hornets, who shot 48 percent (38-of-80).

"We came out, competed, and we came up a little short," West said. "This loss hurts us, but we still know we have a shot, so we are going to fight until the schedule runs out."

The Hornets were outscored, 37-23, in the first quarter to put them game out of reach early.

"We spotted them too many points in the first quarter and we couldn't recover from that," West said. "Guys on this team have a lot of heart, and they are not going to back down."








  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA PHOENIX 103
    NEW ORLEANS 95 FINAL

    Apr 6 10:13 PM


  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA PHOENIX 77
    NEW ORLEANS 67 END, 3RD QTR

    Apr 6 9:42 PM


  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA PHOENIX 60
    NEW ORLEANS 48 HALFTIME

    Apr 6 9:02 PM


  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA PHOENIX 37
    NEW ORLEANS 23 END, 1ST QTR

    Apr 6 8:34 PM