OAKLAND, Calif. — Monty Williams struggled to describe his team's latest effort Wednesday night. And for a change, that was actually a good thing for the New Orleans Hornets.
Marco Belinelli had 22 points and six assists, Jarrett Jack added 20 points and nine assists and the Hornets earned a rare victory by routing the Golden State Warriors 102-87 on Wednesday night in a matchup of shorthanded teams out of the playoff chase.
"It's past a mystery," coach said when asked where the scoring will come from in a shattered lineup each night. "It's more like a conundrum."
Carl Landry also chipped in 20 points and eight rebounds to help New Orleans build a 20-point lead in the third quarter and cruise to victory for a change. The Hornets, last in the Western Conference, won for only the 13th time this season.
"Teams better watch out," said guard Greivis Vasquez, who had six points, six assists and four rebounds. "We might mess around and win a couple games."
The Warriors have fallen so fast they're suddenly in a similar situation.
David Lee had 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Klay Thompson scored 13 for the Warriors, who fell to 2-8 since trading leading scorer Monta Ellis to Milwaukee in a move that netted injured center Andrew Bogut. While the trade was made for future success, it hasn't helped the present.
"There's no such thing as overlooking a team when we're the third-worst team in the West," Lee said. "We don't have that luxury. We just didn't play well tonight."
The plodding pace perhaps should've been predictable.
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle) missed his 11th straight game — and 21st overall — and, along with new big man Andrew Bogut (fractured left ankle), is unlikely to play again this season. Andris Biedrins (strained right groin) also wasn't in uniform.
Trevor Ariza (sore right ankle), Chris Kaman (illness), Emeka Okafor (sore left knee) and Eric Gordon (bruised right knee) all sat out for the Hornets. Gordon has played in only two games this season.
The absence of so many starters showed.
The flow of the game was mundane and the typically bouncing Bay Area crowd was subdued, even though an announced 18,771 fans still attended. Other than a few quick bursts, there wasn't much to cheer about.
New Orleans scored 10 straight in the second quarter on a run capped by a pick-and-roll pass from Vasquez to Jason Smith for a layup that gave the Hornets a 39-26 lead. They went ahead by 17 at halftime, and boos rang out so loud from the home crowd that Warriors owner Joe Lacob — jeered for several minutes last week during Hall of Famer Chris Mullin's jersey retirement ceremony at the arena — didn't even get out of his seat.
The Hornets built a 69-49 lead halfway through the third quarter on a layup by Jack. Golden State made a brief run to close within a dozen before New Orleans regrouped and blew away the Warriors.
"You still have a job to do," Jack said he tells his younger teammates at this point in the season. "Don't sell yourself short. Don't sell the team, the city or the fans short. They come out each and every game. Go out and play hard and don't do yourself a disservice."
Pride is about all either team has left to play for.
The Hornets are four games back of Sacramento, the next worst team in the Western Conference. Only Charlotte and Washington have fewer wins than New Orleans, which actually has more victories on the road (8) than at home (5).
Golden State is a shell of the team it was a couple weeks ago.
The Warriors still had dim playoff hopes when they traded Ellis — a fan favorite and heart of the Warriors offense — along with Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown to Milwaukee for Bogut. The Australian center and 2005 No. 1 overall pick will not play this season but is expected to be Golden State's franchise big man in the future.
NOTES: Curry will officially be sidelined for another two weeks, the team announced Wednesday. He will be re-evaluated after that time and, though unlikely, he's still trying to play again this season. ... The Hornets play at Portland on Thursday night, while the Warriors don't play again until hosting New Jersey on Friday night.
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