The Phoenix Suns fell Sunday night to the New Orleans Hornets 95-92 at US Airways Center, giving the team its ninth consecutive loss.
“It’s very tough,” Suns forward Luis Scola said. “There’s no reason why to be positive. So how are we going to stay positive? Nobody should be positive. We have to work hard. The way we do it is we realize that we have problems and that we need to fix them.”
With this defeat, the Suns have lost a franchise-worst seven straight at home. The organization has also cemented their worst win total in a non-shortened season since 1987-88 when the team finished with a disappointing 28-54 record. Conversely, the Hornets not only broke their two-game losing streak, but also defied their previous eight consecutive road losses with this win.
Anthony Davis, who was the 2012 first pick in the NBA Draft, continued to display vast signs of improvement as the 20-year-old led the Hornets with 20 points. Ryan Anderson followed with a strong performance of his own, adding 17 points and 10 rebounds. Eric Gordon also had 17 points in New Orleans’ triumph.
The Hornets came out victorious shooting 40 percent from the field, 27 percent from 3-point range and 93 percent from the free-throw line. New Orleans totaled 19 assists, six blocks, 12 fast break points, seven steals and 15 turnovers. The Hornets outrebounded the Suns 48 to 38.
“We are a young team and coach Monty tells us all the time how to handle situations,” Davis explained. “They are young, they run and they cut it to six I think (actually three). We just kept our composure and tried to execute our offense. We got a bucket and calmed the crowd down and got back to the flow of things.”
Phoenix started the first with a 26-17 lead thanks to Scola. With Marcin Gortat and Jermaine O’Neal both out due to injury, Scola demonstrated a commendable effort against Davis in the opening quarter. However, this did not last for very long as the game progressed.
The Hornets cut the Suns’ lead to within four by the end of the second period, yet neither team shot particularly well in the first half. Phoenix entered halftime ahead 43-39 shooting 43 percent from the field, 20 percent from 3 and 88 percent from the foul line. New Orleans shot 37 percent from field goal range, 40 percent from the 3-point line and 75 percent from the free-throw line.
Both teams tallied similar numbers statistically. The Suns collected nine assists, four blocks, 20 rebounds and eight turnovers. The Hornets accounted for 10 assists, two blocks, one steal and nine turnovers. Each team gathered four fast break points prior the start of the second half.
By the end of the third, the Suns appeared lifeless after missing their last six attempts before the beginning of the fourth quarter. New Orleans assumed control with a 74-62 lead over Phoenix. The Hornets accumulated 35 points in the quarter, only four points shy of the team’s first-half total.
The visiting team pulled away in this matchup in spite of Phoenix outscoring their opponent 30 to 21 in the final quarter. The Suns closed the game shooting 43 percent from field goal range, 33 percent from 3-pointer and 90 percent from the foul line. Phoenix finished with 20 assists, four blocks, six fast break points, eight steals and 16 turnovers.
Scola led the Suns with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Markieff Morris contributed 18 points in the loss.
Phoenix will go on to face the Houston Rockets, while New Orleans looks toward the Los Angeles Lakers. Both games will be played on April 9.