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Warriors Outshoot the Hornets, 116-112

The New Orleans Hornets and Golden State Warriors battled it out at the New Orleans Arena Saturday night in a game that featured nine ties and 18 lead changes, but the Hornets couldn’t stay with the Warriors in the final minutes, losing 116-112.

With only 22 seconds left to play, and trailing 112-110, the Hornets fouled former Hornet Jarrett Jack in a desperation move to get the ball back. Jack made just one of his two free-throws, leaving New Orleans trailing by three.

The Hornets in-bounded the ball to Eric Gordon, who drove to the top of the key and kicked the ball out to Greivis Vasquez for the three-point attempt. Vasquez missed, however, and New Orleans was forced to foul Jack again. He made both free-throws, and after a timeout the Bees attempted two more desperate threes, one by Roger Mason, Jr. and the other by Gordon. Both came up short.

The Warriors’ Stephen Curry hit another free-throw, and with only 4.6 seconds left the Golden State defense let Mason drive in for a nugatory lay-up.

The Hornets shot 57% on the night, the Warriors 49.4%. Golden State’s scoring was led by their guards, who all scored 20 or more points. Jack put up 25 points, Stephen Curry recorded 20 and Klay Thompson scored a season-high 29 points.

Thompson was nearly unstoppable in the first half of the game. He scored 24 points on 10-13 shooting, a perfect 4-4 from three-point range, all before halftime. His scoring put the Warriors ahead of the Hornets, 67-57, going into the break.

The score was a record for both teams: the most points the Hornets have allowed in the first half, and the most points the Warriors have scored in the first half.

Golden State was playing down four players Saturday night.

New Orleans rallied with a swift 6-0 run to start the 3rd quarter, and they brought the game within four points, 67-63. Vasquez scored the go-ahead three with 2:41 left in the 3rd, and they built a 7 point lead before lagging in the final quarter

After the game, Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams pointed out the factors in the loss. “We lost our identity tonight. We gave up 116 points to a team that is undermanned. I thought they did a great job of penetrating and finding guys. They had three quarters where they scored 30 points. We didn’t knock down a free throw and we turned the ball over 17 times. You don’t deserve to win. That is a recipe for a bad night.”

The Hornets only made 13 of 23 attempts from the free-throw line and committed 17 turnovers for 22 Golden State points.

Five Hornets scored in double digits, led by Gordon with 23. Vasquez contributed eight points and 15 assists. The most bountiful stat lines belonged to Anthony Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu, who combined for 34 points, 22 rebounds, five blocks, five assists and three steals.

Davis, despite his utility tonight, suffered at the foul line, making only 2-7.

“Put that on me; I was missing some crucial free throws,” Davis said after the game. “I should not be missing free throws like that, especially [when] we were getting to the line. I kind of put that on me.”

The Hornets (13-27) are now 6-3 in the new year. They face the Sacramento Kings (16-25) on Monday.