Dec 31, 2001 11:54 AM EST
Two seasons ago, Jerry Stackhouse was on a Detroit Pistons team that was swept by Miami 3-0 in the first round of the playoffs.
On Sunday, Stackhouse and his Pistons beat the Heat for the first time since April 12, 2000.
What's the difference between this 5-23 Miami team and the one that beat Detroit the past seven times they've met in the regular season of playoffs? Stackhouse says the answer is Jamal Mashburn.
"You definitely underestimate the presence of a Mashburn on that team," said Stackhouse, who scored 24 points against Miami on Sunday despite being limited to 28 minutes because of foul trouble. "That's what they're missing."
Mashburn was traded two summers ago in the deal that brought Eddie Jones to Miami. Since then, the Heat played primarily with Bruce Bowen at small forward position last season and LaPhonso Ellis and Jim Jackson this season.
Jackson has tried to be the inside-outside player Miami is lacking (he has shot 52 percent over his last four games), but his 6-foot-6 frame limits him against some of the bigger small forwards in the league. Jones has a decent post-up game but often gets muscled off the block and ends up with an isolation play on the perimeter.
"They've got (Alonzo Mourning) in the middle, Brian (Grant) can post and hits jump shots, Eddie is doing his thing coming off screens and creating problems and getting guys open shots," Stackhouse said. "I think they need that key component, even though Jimmy's been playing well, Mash could hurt you inside and out and that's little bit of something that they're missing."
? Scary moment: Jones went down in obvious pain in the third quarter Sunday after running into Mourning with his left shoulder.
It was the same shoulder Jones had surgically repaired this off-season, so the pain he felt when he went down shook the shooting guard.
"When it happened I was a little scared," Jones said. "It was stinging. When it stings like that, I was like, `Whoa.' "
Jones left the floor holding his left arm. But after stretching and icing his shoulder he returned to the game. He missed three of four shots after returning.
? Hot flashes: Heat coach Pat Riley said he has seen more consistency from Mourning recently, especially defensively.
"I'm beginning to see flashes of the old Zo more consistently," Riley said. "I think a player has to understand who he is, where he came from and what he's all about as a player. Zo was Defensive Player of the Year as a shot blocker and intimidator inside. That's where his greatness is and that's where he has to focus a lot more of his energy, defensive rebound the ball, clog up the lane and then let the offense just sort of come with it."
In his last five games, Mourning is averaging 15.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks.
Dec 31, 2001 11:34 AM EST
LAUREN MARKOE and TIM WHITMIRE of the Charlotte Observer report: Remember the Hornets saying this summer that they would settle their relocation question by Jan. 1?
Don't expect an answer tomorrow.
Hornets co-owner Ray Wooldridge had asked interested cities to have their arena-building plans to the team by year's end. The top contenders aren't totally ready, but they're not sweating either.
Louisville, Ky., which Wooldridge has called the front-runner for the team, is still putting the final touches on its arena plan. Steve Magre, president of that city's board of aldermen, said he thinks the month ahead "remains a reasonable time frame" for the Hornets and Louisville to conclude negotiations.
"This Jan. 1 date was sort of self-imposed on the process by George and Ray as a way for them to speed up the competition among various cities," said Vincent Mastracco, an attorney on the steering committee trying to bring the Hornets to Norfolk.
He and Magre agree that the real deadline is March 1 - the date by which the NBA requires teams to file to move for the next season.
Dec 31, 2001 11:16 AM EST
There were some anxious moments for Hornets players and coaches shortly after last Saturday?s 101-88 loss to Atlanta after a bomb threat was made to Philips Arena near the end of the game.
"I was made aware right after the game was over," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "The guys were in the shower and I told Big Shot (equipment manager and Belmont Abbey alumnus Dave Jovanovic) to tell them what was going on. They didn?t believe him at first. They thought it was some sort of a joke. So, I came in there and told them it was real. They moved pretty fast after that and we got on the buses and got out of there."
Hornets forward P.J. Brown said it was the first bomb scare he could recall since he was in junior high in Winfield, La.
"It was kind of weird," Brown said. "But in these days and times, you just never know."
Charlotte guard Baron Davis said he took the threat seriously at first, unlike some of his other teammates.
"I hurried up and got the hell up out of there," said Davis, who was in elementary school in south central Los Angeles during the riots following the first Rodney King verdict.
After searching the arena, officials found no validity to the threat.
Home sweet home
The Los Angeles Clippers stretch of 27 home wins in 36 games is their best stretch since the early 1990s when Larry Brown was the team?s coach.
Brown feels confident this current Clippers? group, coached by Shelby?s Alvin Gentry, can continue the franchise?s renaissance.
"I?ve watched them," Brown said. "They?re terrific. They?re fun to watch, they?re doing great. There?s a lot of athletic teams in the league now but they?re way up there. And they?re young and they play with enthusiasm.
"I just think Elton Brand has made such an impact. He plays with effort, he gets you 19 and 10 or 11 rebounds every game. Never takes a lot of shots. Doesn?t make mistakes. That was a heck of a trade. And he?s a great character kid, which is something that every young team needs. When you?ve got a guy like him that comes to practice and works hard every game and every possession, it?s a tremendous teaching aide to young people."
Brand, the former Duke star, was acquired on draft night last June from the Chicago Bulls.
Riley still hopeful
Miami?s slow start this season has had Pat Riley going through a rollercoaster of emotions. At times, he wants to get rid of his entire team. At others, he?s hopeful of a playoff run.
"The Eastern Conference is so bizarre," said Riley, who has never missed postseason play in his 19 previous seasons as a head coach. "I will continue to believe we can make the playoffs until we can?t make it. We are only five games out. Think about how sick that is. We have lost 20 games already, and we are only five games out of a playoff spot."
Tough times in Portland
Following a Sports Illustrated story on how far the Portland Trail Blazers have fallen in terms of interest and standing in the community, things haven?t improved. In fact, Bonzi Wells has suffered even more.
Wells was quoted in the story saying, "We?re not really going to worry about what the hell they (Portland fans) think about us. They really don?t matter to us. They can boo us every day, but they?re still going to ask for our autographs if they see us on the street. That?s why they?re fans and we?re NBA players."
In the next home game after the story appeared, Wells was in uniform but did not play due to knee injury. However, during the game, a feature on the in-house replay screen asked players what their favorite Christmas gift was as a kid. When it came time to show Wells? taped response, the fans booed so loudly it could not be heard.
Dec 31, 2001 11:11 AM EST
It was frustrating, and it could have become downright discouraging.
Brendan Haywood's introduction to professional basketball was a rude one, one he had little reason to expect after ending his college career at North Carolina last spring.
First, Haywood fell far below projections in the draft before finally being taken with the 20th pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was traded that same night to Orlando. Then, he was traded again later in the summer, this time to the hapless Washington Wizards. And shortly into training camp, he tore ligaments in his left thumb and was sidelined for six weeks.
Some welcome to the NBA, indeed.
But instead of moaning and groaning and dwelling on his misfortune, Haywood chose to chuckle a little instead.
Now that ability to take things in stride is paying off, and he's starting to get the last laugh.
He is playing a significant role for the Wizards, the team that is the biggest surprise in the NBA, and he is establishing himself as one of the better young big men in the league.
"Things are going pretty well right now," Haywood said before the Wizards' 107-90 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night. "I have a ways to go to get where I want to be, and I want to continue to improve every day, but overall I'm pretty happy. A lot of things that went against me earlier are turning out to be a blessing in disguise."
Haywood's sense of humor has been a key element all along.
"Things didn't start out like I hoped they would," he said. "But I kept everything as lighthearted as I could. When I got here, some of the guys started calling me Don MacLean because I was being traded so many times, so we all just kinda laughed and joked about it.
"The fact is, I was happy to be traded from Cleveland. I wanted them to trade me, so that didn't bother me at all. I was surprised when I was traded from Orlando, but I came here and I had a good workout so I thought this would be a good fit for me. As it turns out, it is probably a better fit for me than Orlando would have been."
Haywood has averaged 7.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.13 blocked shots in 17 games since coming off the injured list, playing 26 minutes a game as the backup center to Jahidi White.
Haywood's numbers have been far-more impressive in the past few weeks, and he has been a significant reason why the Wizards have won 10 of their past 12.
He scored 19 recently in a win at Dallas and followed with 17 points and 15 rebounds in a victory at Memphis.
"He's made a big difference since he's come back," said Johnny Bach, the former Hornets' assistant coach now with the Wizards. "He and Tyronn Lue are probably the two biggest reasons we've turned things around. We thought he was the best young big man we had in training camp. Then he got hurt, but he's picked up right where he left off before his injury."
After Haywood had 18 points and 11 rebounds against Orlando earlier in the year, Doc Rivers admitted to Bach that the Magic was already regretting dealing Haywood.
"He said, 'We made a big mistake letting that guy go,' " Bach said. "And they did. He's going to have a long career in this league. He plays big. He's tall and lanky, and he reminds me a lot of Robert Parish with those long arms and everything. And he's got the fundamentals already, which not a lot of young big men have anymore. You put him next to Kwame (Brown), and it's just obvious how much he benefited from four years in a good college program."
Haywood's UNC ties are helping in another sense. It turns out that Haywood has become Michael Jordan's pet project this season.
And to have Jordan take a personal interest has to be a great motivating factor.
"That's been good for me," Haywood said. "He just tells me the little things I need to do to be a player. A lot of guys are good enough to play in this league, but they lack the little things, and those are the things he concentrates on because he wants me to have a long career.
"It's one of those things where when Michael Jordan says something to you, you know it's the truth. He's the greatest of all time, and when he speaks, you need to listen."
Haywood admits that he's a bit surprised to be playing as well as he has been.
"One of the reasons I never got down was that I knew I had a three-year contract and I had three years to prove myself," he said. "I just wanted to come in and work hard on my defense early and let everything else take care of itself. I'm getting more minutes here than I would have in Orlando, so I can't complain."
Dec 31, 2001 11:07 AM EST
Coach Paul Silas has tried to take a realistic approach to the Hornets' current problems, saying he'll be happy if the team can just hang around the .500 mark until Jamal Mashburn and George Lynch return from injuries.
But Hornets players say they can't afford to take that view, even if it is true. They want to keep striving for perfection even though they are shorthanded, and they know they can't rely on Mashburn and Lynch coming back to save the day later in the season.
"If we take that attitude, we'll continue to win one game and lose two and then win another one and lose two more," forward P.J. Brown said after Saturday's 107-90 loss at Washington. "You can't play like that. I don't look at it that way, and I hope nobody else does, either.
"When's Mash coming back, anyway? Nobody has any idea. And George, he hasn't played in a long time, so who's to say what his game is going to be like when he does come back. He's missed more than a year, so you don't know what he's going to be able to bring. We hope he comes back strong, but we can't bank on it.
"We've just got to go out there and play better. We've got enough talent as it is, we've proven that. It's not like we're 5-20 or the worst team in the league. We've been right there in the hunt and beaten some good teams. We've got the guys right now to get the job done. So we've got to stop talking about it and go out there and do it."
The Hornets have lost six of their last eight to fall to 13-17 and 10th in the Eastern Conference standings.
They'll be off until Thursday, when they will play Golden State to open a five-game homestand.
? Baron Davis played Saturday night despite a sore right knee, extending his streak to 194 straight games. He hasn't missed a game in his three-year NBA career.
But Davis was wondering if he made the right decision after going 6 of 21 from the field and scoring 14 points in the loss.
"You can say I gutted it out if you want, but that don't mean nothing," Davis said. "I didn't have much of an effect on the game. Maybe I would have done the team a better service had I not played."
? Silas made an interesting comparison when talking about Michael Jordan's 51-point outburst Saturday night, likening Jordan's fade-away jumper to the bobbing and weaving of Muhammad Ali in his prime.
"Mike is quick enough still that he can get around you if you get up on him too close," Silas said. "And if you don't, he's got that fade-away that you can't block. He's almost like an Ali when Ali used to fade back and you couldn't hit him with the jab. Mike is the same way. He fades back on that shot and if he's hitting, it's almost impossible to stop him."
Dec 30, 2001 10:33 AM EST
Coming off the worst game of his career, Michael Jordan felt he needed to make a statement. Boy, did he ever.
Embarrassing every defender who tried to guard him, Jordan scored 51 points and set franchise records with 24 first-quarter points and 34 points in a half Saturday night as the Wizards snapped a two-game losing streak with a 107-90 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
"Fifty-one is something I didn?t imagine," Charlotte forward P.J. Brown said. "He kind of went back in time tonight."
Jordan made 21 of 38 shots from the field, 9 of 10 free throws and had seven rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes. He had a shot at Earl Monroe?s franchise game record of 56 until the Wizards blew the game open in the third quarter, allowing coach Doug Collins to sit his star for good with 3:08 remaining in the game.
"You think the guy?s got a little pride?" Collins said.
"He had a tough night in Indiana, and I think he was going to come back and show who he is. ... I?ve seen this guy do some unbelievable things, but at age 38 to do this tonight is incredible."
Jordan scored a career-low six points in Thursday?s loss to the Pacers, ending his record 866-game streak of 10 points or more. He needed only 4:25 to start another double-digit streak, making five of his first six shots and scoring the Wizards? first 13 points.
"I?m pretty sure you guys were saying how old I was," Jordan said. "And I wanted certainly to make a statement offensively."
Jordan?s 39th regular season 50-point game also set an MCI Center record and was the first 50-point game by a Wizards player since Tracy Murray scored 50 at Golden State on Feb. 10, 1998. It was the first 50-point game by a Wizards player at home since Bernard King?s 50 against Utah on March 6, 1991.
It was Jordan?s first 50-pointer since scoring 55 points for Chicago in a playoff game against Washington in 1997.
Hubert Davis added 21 points and Jahidi White had 12 points and a season-high 12 rebounds for the Wizards.
Jamaal Magloire scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Hornets, who beat the Wizards 99-93 on Wednesday. Baron Davis, who was listed as doubtful with a bruised right knee, started and scored 14 points in 42 minutes.
Realizing he was hot, Jordan wanted the ball and wanted it badly. Two familiar moves were on display early and often: the fadeaway off the screen and the pivot around a defender who left his feet falling for the fake.
Jordan?s best move: On the right wing, he moved to the right around Magloire, hung the air forever and kissed a 14-footer off the glass while drawing the foul. Jordan made the free throw to give the Wizards a 25-19 lead.
Jordan didn?t have his legs in the fourth quarter, shooting just 2-for-7, but he blew past Stacey Augmon for an easy layup with seven minutes left.
"It?s been a long time since someone said that I was hanging in the air," Jordan said. "I felt real good in the first half. My rhythm, my timing was perfect, and I had the defense guessing. It was one of those nights."
Jordan and Davis were Washington?s only offense in the first half, with the pair making 20 of 29 shots and accounting for 48 of the team?s 56 points. The result was a seesaw half that included 23 lead changes before Jordan?s 17-footer with four seconds left gave the Wizards a 56-51 lead at the break.
But Collins switched his defense at halftime and shut down the paint. Charlotte?s guards were unable to pick up the slack: Davis was 6-for-21, and David Wesley was 1-for-11. The front court tandem of Brown and Elden Campbell, which combined for 29 points in the first half, had just four points in the second.
The Wizards put the game away with a 13-0 run with no points from Jordan. Chris Whitney and Davis hit 3-pointers, and White had a 3-point play and made two more free throws in the spurt that put Washington ahead 75-56 with 4:46 left in the third quarter. The biggest lead was 21 at 80-59.
Hornets never got closer than 12 in the final quarter as the Wizards improved to 14-0 when leading after three.
Jordan said he?s felt this kind of rhythm only once before this season, when he scored 44 in a loss to Utah.
"I hate to see wasted energy like that," Jordan said. "And we won the game tonight."
Notes: The previous Wizards record for first-quarter points was 23, set by King exactly 11 years earlier ? Dec. 29, 1990 ? against Denver. The previous record for points in a half was held by Jeff Malone, who had 33 against Phoenix on Feb. 27, 1988. The franchise record for points in a quarter or half have only been kept since the team moved from Baltimore in 1973. ... Monroe scored 56, when the team was called the Baltimore Bullets, against the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 13, 1968. ... The Wizards played without Courtney Alexander, whom Collins said "felt something pull" in his leg in the final minutes Thursday. Collins said Alexander, who has also been bothered by a sprained ankle, was too sore to play. ... The Hornets had won nine of the previous 11 against the Wizards.
Dec 30, 2001 10:31 AM EST
The Charlotte Hornets found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time last night - in Michael Jordan's crosshairs on a night when he was on the prowl.
It was a night they'd just as soon forget, and a night a crowd of 20,674 at the MCI Center will long remember.
Bouncing back after scoring a career-low six points in a loss at Indiana on Thursday night, Jordan erupted for a season-high 51 as the Washington Wizards routed the Hornets 107-90.
It was a vintage performance by the man generally regarded to be the best player in NBA history, and it was far and away his best game since returning from a three-year layoff.
"He kinda went back in time on us tonight," forward P.J. Brown of the Hornets said.
"I knew he was going to come out and try to make a statement, because that's the way he is. That's the way he's always been. He's never going to have two bad games in a row like that. But 51, that's still hard to imagine."
Jordan scored the Wizards' first 13 points and 19 of their first 22. He had 24 by the end of the first quarter, 34 at halftime and 45 after three. He finished 21 of 38 from the field and nine of 10 from the free-throw line.
He entered the game averaging 22.7, which ranked him 12th in the league and well below his career scoring average of 31.7. He had gone just 2 of 10 from the field in 25 minutes in a 108-81 loss at Indiana on Thursday.
"I figured if I had another game like that you guys would start talking about how old I was," Jordan said. "So I wanted to make a statement tonight. But more important, I wanted to get back on the winning track. I felt like we were ready to get back on a winning streak again tonight."
The Wizards snapped a two-game losing streak, which started with a 99-93 loss at Charlotte on Wednesday night, and raised their record to 15-14. They won only 19 games last season.
The loss was the Hornets' second in two nights and dropped them to 13-17, four games under .500 for the first time all season. They have lost four of their last five and six of their past eight.
"It really was like we were in the wrong place at the wrong time," Coach Paul Silas of the Hornets said. "You knew he was going to have a big game, and once he got rolling, it was just impossible to stop him. We made the decision we weren't going to rotate and all that stuff, and then once he got that jumper going there was very little we could do."
The Hornets trailed only 56-51 at halftime despite Jordan's early eruption, and they seemed to be in good position to beat the Wizards for the third time this season if Jordan slowed down. But that didn't happen, and the Wizards pulled out to a 22-point lead midway through the third quarter thanks to a 24-7 run.
"We won the game in the third quarter," Jordan said. "As much as I had scored, we were only up five at halftime and so you had to be a little worried. But the guys started stepping up at that point and we played well."
Jordan set five Wizards or MCI Center records, but he didn't get the franchise scoring record of 56 set by Earl Monroe. The record for most points by a Hornets opponent continues to be 57 by Indiana's Reggie Miller.
Hubert Davis complemented Jordan with 21 points. Jamaal Magloire led the Hornets with 22 points, Brown had 17 points and eight rebounds, Elden Campbell scored 16, and Baron Davis scored 14.
Davis had sat out most of the second half in Friday night's 105-89 loss to Milwaukee because of a sore knee, and he was not expected to play last night. But he wound up playing 42 minutes, extending his streak of consecutive games to 194. He has not missed a game in his three-year NBA career.
The Hornets will now be off until Thursday, when they will play the Golden State Warriors to open a five-game homestand.
Dec 29, 2001 11:38 AM EST
In selecting the top 10 sports stories of the year, we were faced with quite a dilemma. It was easy to separate local sports from national sports, but what to do with Charlotte sports? What about the ACC? It?s hard to classify North Carolina basketball or Panthers football as local sports, yet it?s not quite national, either.
So we chickened out and came up with the "Top 10 Regional" sports stories of the year.
Without further ado:
Will they stay or go?
1 The top regional sports story is no singular event; in fact, nothing much has even happened. But the question of whether the Hornets will stay in Charlotte or leave town for another venue has dominated area sports talk for the better part of a year.
When Charlotte voters rejected a June referendum which would have paved the way for public financing of a new Uptown arena, Hornets owners George Shinn and Ray Wooldridge began an exhaustive search for a city which would give them what they want: A new arena at no cost to themselves.
So far, that search has been met with skepticism by most cities contacted. The Hornets applied for relocation to Memphis, but were beaten out by the Vancouver Grizzlies. The cities of Louisville, Hampton Roads, Va., Oklahoma City, Anaheim, Calif. and St. Louis have all been contacted, yet no firm offer has been made.
Shinn and Wooldridge have placed a Jan. 1 deadline on relocation talk, but not much figures to get done before then. Meanwhile, attendance at Hornets games, once among the best in the league, has now dwindled to less than 10,000 per game despite having the most successful playoff team in franchise history.
Both Shinn and Wooldridge have said they are not willing to sell the team, even though local ownership groups have expressed interest.
Probably the worst news of all is that fans who are simply tired of hearing about the issue will get no rest: There seems to be no end in sight.
Dec 29, 2001 11:37 AM EST
There was a moment late in the third quarter of Friday?s 105-89 Milwaukee victory over Charlotte where the Hornets? two top players, Jamal Mashburn and Baron Davis, consoled each other on the bench.
Charlotte coach Paul Silas only hopes that situation doesn?t continue.
While Mashburn remains in street clothes and is out indefinitely with a strained abdominal muscle, Davis injured his right knee for the second straight game and is listed as doubtful for tonight?s game at Washington.
"It?s just real sore," Davis said. "I want to play. The last thing I want to do is not play. But it?ll be a game-time decision again."
Percentages may dictate that the Hornets sit Davis out of a game for the first time of his professional career; Davis has played in 193 straight games.
It?s because Charlotte doesn?t play again until next Thursday.
And the usually positive Silas offered the painfully obvious Hornets? prospects should Davis join Mashburn on the sidelines.
"Well, if Baron is hurt and can?t play up to his capabilities, we?re going to have trouble winning games," Silas said. "There is no plan B. We just do the best we can (without him). We lose Mash ? and if we lose (Davis) and we?re just not a very good team.
"I don?t have a magic wand that can make that go away. Let?s face it. Without my players, we?re not a very good team."
Without Davis for much of Friday night?s loss, Charlotte proved Silas correct.
The Hornets were easy targets for the Bucks, who also were short-handed.
Yet, even with Ray Allen out with knee tendinitis, Sam Cassell, Glenn Robinson and Tim Thomas sliced up whatever defense was thrown at them, even a zone defense that helped Charlotte closed within 10 late in the game.
"We used the zone to get back in the game," Silas said. "But then they started raining 3?s."
Milwaukee was 11-of-26 overall on 3-pointers, with Cassell and Thomas hitting three apiece.
The only real positives for Charlotte were in Lee Nailon?s 24-point performance and in David Wesley moving back over to the point guard position (along with reserve Bryce Drew) after Davis left the game early in the second half.
"We?ll go with what we?ve got," Silas said of the Hornets? future playing rotation. "That?s really all we can do."
Following the first sellout of the season for Wednesday night?s game against Michael Jordan?s Washington Wizards, the attendance Friday night dropped dramatically. It was listed officially as 10,888, but courtside observers calculated the actual number of fans at significantly less than that.
Dec 29, 2001 11:36 AM EST
Everything was back to normal last night at the Charlotte Coliseum.
The stands were more than half empty again, and the Charlotte Hornets fell back into their recent doldrums in a 105-89 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks took control quickly, leading by 23 points in the first half and 18 at halftime, and the Hornets never got the deficit under double digits in the second half.
It was not the way the Hornets wanted to follow their 99-93 win over Washington on Wednesday night, when a sellout crowd of 23,799 looked on, and afterward Hornets players talked about their their frustration.
"It's disappointing," guard David Wesley said. "We just can't seem to build on a good performance. We won big games at Utah and Portland earlier in the year and couldn't build on them, and the same thing happened tonight. To play like we did in front of a packed house Wednesday night and then to come back with an effort like this, it's frustrating."
The loss dropped the Hornets to 13-16 and was the fifth loss in their past seven games. It also dropped them to 4-8 at home and was the eighth loss in their past 10 home games.
"The first half was our demise," Coach Paul Silas said. "We didn't play very well in the first half at all. We just didn't come with it tonight."
To add to the Hornets' misery, guard Baron Davis exited early in the third quarter because of more problems with his injured right knee and didn't return. He's listed as doubtful for tonight's game at Washington.
"We're not going to make any excuses, but when you're without your point guard on top of not having Mash (Jamal Mashburn) and (George) Lynch, you're going to struggle," Silas said. "Without those guys, we're not a very good team."
Sam Cassell led the Bucks with 29 points. Glenn Robinson scored 21, Tim Thomas 18, and Darvin Ham supplied some of the most electric plays of the night and finished with 12. The Bucks shot 47.2 percent from the field but were a sizzling 10 of 14 from 3-point range, with Cassell and Thomas hitting three treys each.
The Bucks have won three straight and are 17-9, leading the Central Division.
Lee Nailon led the Hornets with 24 points, Wesley scored 21 and Elden Campbell finished with 16. Davis was 2 of 11 from the field before leaving and finished with seven points.
The Bucks scored the last four points of the first quarter to lead 33-26 after one period, then assumed firm control in the second quarter.
They went on an 18-2 run over a span of 4:51 early in the second to push a 35-29 lead to 53-31.
The Bucks hit three 3-pointers in that span, two by Rafer Alston, and the Hornets went more than five minutes without a field goal. The Hornets missed 16 of their first 19 shots in the period.
Milwaukee's biggest lead came at 56-33. The Hornets never got closer than 92-82 with just more than five minutes left in the game.
"Tonight was a letdown for us," Campbell said.
"It was just an off game. We're going in the wrong direction. But all we can do right now is learn from our mistakes and try to improve for the next game."
After tonight's game at Washington, the Hornets will return home for a five-game homestand.
"We've got to find a way to start winning consistently at home," Wesley said. "Tonight was a great opportunity for us and we didn't take advantage of it. I feel we're better than our record, but the fact is we're not playing that way. It kinda sucks, really."
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