Warriors-Hornets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 20, 2012
It's safe to say frustration is mounting for the scuffling Golden State Warriors. The New Orleans Hornets, in contrast, remain surprisingly upbeat despite being last in the Western Conference. The visiting Warriors try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season Wednesday night against the Hornets, who are looking to build on a rare win. Occupying 13th place in the West, Golden State (18-25) lost 97-93 to Minnesota on Monday - its fourth consecutive defeat. The Warriors, who were outrebounded 48-33 and shot 42.5 percent from the field, trailed by 14 at the break - when the fans let owner Joe Lacob have it. Lacob was booed by the crowd while attempting to make a speech in honor of Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, whose No. 17 jersey was retired during what was supposed to be a special halftime ceremony. Most of the fans' displeasure stemmed from the team shipping a package headlined by Monta Ellis to Milwaukee in exchange for injured center Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson, who was later moved to San Antonio for Richard Jefferson. "It's frustrating for the players as well as the fans right now," said David Lee, who posted a team-high 25 points to go along with nine boards Monday. "We made a trade, which is in my opinion the reason why there was the reaction. We made a trade that's not going to help us this year." While Lacob had a difficult time trading Ellis, he believes it will pay off in the long run. "I'm a fan too and when we made this trade, I was kind of sick to my stomach," Lacob said. "It's so hard to pull the trigger on something like this - a fan favorite like Monta. But we had to do it, I think it was the right decision. We had to change the course, we don't wanna keep losing, we want to win - so that's the goal here." It could be a while before the Warriors reap the benefits of their trade. Golden State, which last lost five in a row Dec. 31-Jan. 7, has been outscored by an average of 8.8 points during its current skid. New Orleans (11-34) owns the third-fewest victories in the league but delivered one of its better efforts during Saturday's 102-94 win at New Jersey. Marco Belinelli and Chris Kaman each scored 20 points for the Hornets, who made 8-of-16 from 3-point range and shot 50.6 percent overall. "We have something like 21 more games, so we are going to play until the end and keep fighting, that's why we play," Belinelli said. "We need to go on the court and play hard every game, because we are a team that will fight every time, so we are going to play like that. "But it's just a win. It was important for us to win this game here, now we have a couple days to improve our game and get ready for the game Wednesday." With three days off, the Hornets should be well rested as they try to avoid a fourth loss in five games to New Orleans. The teams, though, haven't met in over a year. The Warriors continue to play without Stephen Curry (ankle) and could also be missing Andris Biedrins, who strained his right groin Monday.
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