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Hornets get by undermanned Kings at home

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- With a nearly full house supporting them,
the New Orleans Hornets didn't let another fourth-quarter lead slip
away in yet another home away from home.

David West scored 19 points and Rasual Butler added a
season-high 16 to help New Orleans beat the Sacramento Kings 90-76
Friday night in their third "home" arena this season.

Butler hit two 3-pointers during a 16-4 run that extended the
Hornets' lead to 79-57 early in the fourth quarter. Sacramento
pulled to 83-70 on Jason Hart's 3, but Jackson Vroman scored four
straight points and J.R. Smith added a 3 to restore the 20-point

"There were a lot of plays that knocked the wind out of them,"
Butler said. "We kept them at a distance."

The game -- relocated from Baton Rouge, La. -- was played at the
University of Oklahoma's Lloyd Noble Center because of a conflict
with a Bon Jovi concert rehearsal at the Ford Center in Oklahoma

The Hornets sold 11,343 tickets -- about 300 shy of a sellout --
in four days to create a home-court advantage they didn't have when
they last played a "home" game somewhere other than the Ford

Last month, they were outscored 37-10 in the fourth quarter by
Phoenix in a 101-88 loss in front of 7,302 fans in Baton Rouge.
Afterward, Hornets coach Byron Scott approached general manager
Jeff Bower about moving five other games that were scheduled for
Baton Rouge.

"We have great fans here in Oklahoma. It's unfortunate that
Louisiana had such a tragedy that people don't really have the time
to come out and support entertainment," Butler said.

The Hornets closed the third quarter with eight straight points
to take a 71-53 lead on Chris Paul's athletic basket.

After letting the clock tick down, Speedy Claxton lost the ball
on the right wing before recovering to find Paul at the top of the
key. Paul scooted into the lane and flipped the ball into the

The run continued into the fourth quarter with Butler's two 3s.

"We had great crowd support. I think that it definitely had
something to do with it," Butler said.

The Kings were without three of their top four scorers. Guard
Peja Stojakovic was a game-time scratch with a bulging disc in his
back, and Shareef Abdur-Rahim (jaw) and Bonzi Wells (groin) were
also out.

"We just wanted to go into this game with that energy and make
sure we didn't have a letdown emotionally," West said. "Coming in
with this team missing the guys that they're missing, you could
easily come in and think you're going to walk through the game."

Brad Miller scored 18 points to lead Sacramento and Francisco
Garcia, who started in place of Stojakovic, added 17.

Mike Bibby, averaging a team-high 19.7 points, was held to six
with four turnovers. He played only 27 minutes, but sat out the
entire fourth quarter despite having only four fouls, as coach Rick
Adelman gave his reserves a chance to make an impact.

"Our offense is not going to be very good if Mike and Brad
don't play very well," Adelman said. "Francisco had numbers, but
our starters, I don't know if anybody had a decent game. ... We
needed everybody to play well and play at a high level, and they
didn't do it. When that happens with the team we have today, it's

The Kings committed 20 turnovers -- one fewer than their
season-high -- and the Hornets capitalized on them for 18 points.

"We struggled playing the game. We didn't pass the ball very
well. We turned it over. And playing on the road, you can't turn it
over like we turned it over," Adelman said.

Butler scored the first seven points of New Orleans' 19-4 run to
start the second quarter while leading scorers Paul and West were
on the bench. Claxton had a pair of baskets and four assists during
the run, including one to set up Kirk Snyder's right-handed,
fast-break dunk that put the Hornets ahead 47-29.

Butler, who was averaging 4.4 points through the Hornets' first
16 games, has adapted to his reserve role -- averaging 8.9 in their
last 16.

Game notes
At one point in pregame warmups, Stojakovic made 11
straight and 19 of 20 3-pointers he attempted. He re-aggravated a
protruding disc in his back Wednesday against Houston. He said the
injury causes problems with a nerve that makes his right leg go
weak. The Kings are 4-3 when Stojakovic doesn't play. ... Hornets
forward Chris Andersen missed the game with the flu. ... Bostjan
Nachbar, who had missed New Orleans' last 21 games after spraining
his right knee Nov. 28, played the final 3:37.


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