Hornets.com postgame: Kings 121, Hornets 110
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Kings (28-50), Hornets (27-52)
It was over when… Sacramento scored 30-plus points in each of the first three quarters, building a 95-73 lead entering the final period. At that stage of Wednesday’s game, the Kings were shooting a blistering 57 percent from the field and 53 percent from three-point range. New Orleans methodically closed the gap in the fourth quarter, but needed at least a few more minutes of game clock to have a realistic chance to come back all the way. The Hornets finished their West road trip at 1-4. New Orleans returns home for a Friday game against the Los Angeles Clippers. A forgettable night took another bad turn midway through the fourth quarter, when Anthony Davis sustained a left knee sprain after Marcus Thornton fell hard on his leg. Davis walked to the locker room on his own power.
Hornets MVP: Brian Roberts was one of the biggest reasons New Orleans was able to keep the game from getting completely out of hand in the second half. Roberts registered a career-best 20 points, including 16 in the latter half. The Dayton product also had six rebounds, five assists, two steals and one blocked shot. The 27-year-old NBA rookie was 6-for-6 on free throws, pushing him back over 90 percent accuracy on the season.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Roberts wasn’t even the only New Orleans reserve to notch a season-high in scoring. Xavier Henry did likewise, producing 15 points, with nine in the fourth quarter. After a lengthy stretch in which he was out of the rotation, the third-year Kansas product averaged 9.7 points over the final three games of the road trip, undoubtedly his best week of 2012-13.
The buzz on… shooting guard. New Orleans received a positive piece of news Wednesday when Eric Gordon was cleared to play in the second game of a back-to-back for the first time since he returned to the floor in late December. Gordon looked spry, scoring 23 points and playing aggressively on offense for the second straight game. “I thought he did decent,” Monty Williams said. “Attacking the basket, nobody could stop him.” Over his 39 appearances this season, the Hornets are 16-23, while only 11-29 when he does not play. Gordon recently acknowledged that he is not content with his performance this season, but is hopeful that a full offseason will enable him to return to his previous Clippers form in 2013-14. Backup shooting guard recently has generally been a combination of Darius Miller and Terrel Harris, with Xavier Henry also playing here, but Henry is a more natural small forward. Sandwiched around a stint in the D-League, Miller had a so-so start to his rookie season, but has turned in stellar performances in recent weeks. Teammates praise the Kentucky product for being a steady presence who limits mistakes and plays to his strengths on offense. Harris was initially signed to a 10-day contract, but showed promise as a defender and hustle guy, leading to New Orleans signing him for the remainder of the season. The club has a team option on Miller for next season, while Harris will be an unrestricted free agent. Roger Mason's playing time has diminished recently, but by design as the Hornets try to give more playing time to young players. Mason has done everything the club could've possibly asked, providing much-needed veteran experience. He's also shot the ball extremely well, at over 40 percent on his specialty, three-pointers. Mason is also scheduled to be a free agent this summer.