Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/12

Game 1: Monday, December 12th
Game 2: Friday, December 16th
Game 3: Monday, March 6th
Game 4: Monday, April 17th

Suns 101

(14-8, 5-3 away)

Hornets 88


    Coverage: COX

    7:00 PM ET, December 16, 2005

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 20 23 21 37101
    NO 26 24 28 1088

    Top Performers

    PHX: S. Marion 21 Pts, 15 Reb, 3 Ast, 5 Blk

    NO: C. Paul 25 Pts, 7 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

    Suns set over Hornets in Baton Rouge homecoming

    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Eddie House ruined the New Orleans Hornets' big night.

    Returning to Louisiana for the first time this season and playing just up the river from their hurricane-ruined home court, the Hornets appeared ready to give the hometown crowd a big victory.

    But House shook off his offensive struggles and scored 26 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, helping the Phoenix Suns rally for a 101-88 victory.

    "I feed off other people's energy," House said after quieting the crowd's celebration.

    For most of the game, the Hornets thrilled their fans by scoring on fast breaks and big dunks and playing tough defense.

    "It was good to be back in front of our hometown fans," Hornets' center P.J. Brown said. "People here love us and it was good to be back in front of family. It felt good. Everything was going well.

    "Hopefully, we can come back next month and get back on track and win some games in front of our fans."

    House didn't score in the third quarter, but fueled the Suns' decisive run with his 3-point shooting in the final period, when Phoenix outscored New Orleans 37-10.

    The Hornets, playing their first regular-season game in Louisiana after being forced to relocate to Oklahoma City because of Hurricane Katrina, took the lead early and led by 15 points in the third period.

    Shawn Marion scored 21 points for Phoenix and had 15 rebounds, Steve Nash added 18 points, Kurt Thomas added 16 and Raja Bell 11. Boris Diaw had 13 rebounds.

    Chris Paul led the Hornets with 25 points, Brown had 20 and J.R. Smith added 14. Both Brown and David West had 13 rebounds.

    The Hornets will play five more "home" games at the LSU Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

    "Our sales people tell me most of the tickets were sold to New Orleans fans," owner George Shinn said. "I think with all these people have gone through, this is a good thing for them and for us."

    The visit was more than a goodwill gesture, it was a chance for Louisiana fans to see a team that has changed markedly since last year. Nearly half of the players who saw action for the Hornets were not on the team the last time the team had a game in the state.

    Another big change is the record. The Hornets are 10-13. Last year, they played 50 games before they won their 10th.

    The Suns held a one-point lead briefly in the first half, but the Hornets quickly took charge, going up 50-43 at halftime. New Orleans, which led by 15 points in the third quarter, looked as if it would give the small -- 7,302 -- but enthusiastic crowd a victory, leading 78-64 going into the final period.

    But Phoenix rallied, taking an 85-84 lead with 5:37 remaining. The Suns outscored the Hornets 18-4 down the stretch. House hit four 3-pointers during the run, including a pair of 25-footers.

    "You hope sooner or later these young guys will get it," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "When you have a lead like that you can't come out in the fourth quarter and think the game is over."

    The Hornets scored only four points in the last 4:12, two free throws by Brown and a tipped shot by Desmond Mason.

    Phoenix entered the game leading the NBA in scoring with an average of 102.7 per game. But after winning a league-best nine straight games, the Suns lost four in a row and had scored less than 100 points in four straight.

    "It feels good to get the show on the road," House said. "Coming back to win the way we did showed a lot of character."

    Game Notes
    All six of the Hornets' scheduled games in Baton Rouge will be against Western Conference opponents ... New Orleans' Monday night victory at Phoenix snapped a five-game losing streak against the Suns ... The cost of repairs to the New Orleans Arena has been estimated at $12 million with a tentative completion date in March.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press