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Hornets Beat Bucks At Home, 102-81

The New Orleans Hornets smothered the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at the New Orleans Arena, 102-81, on the back of strong shooting and a momentum that kept building over the course of the game.

The Hornets shot 52%, their second-highest of the season, while the Bucks shot 38.2% and scored only 81 points, a season low.

New Orleans started strong, shooting at almost 60% in the first quarter, and went into the half with a 53-50 lead. The Hornets also finally found their success under the rim, outscoring the Bucks 48-34 in the paint.

“We were moving the ball offensively, but we just could not stop them,” said Bucks Head Coach Scott Skiles after the game. “We thought at some point someone would stop someone, but we just couldn’t get a stop and build some momentum.”

Bucks’ guard Monta Ellis knocked down a 3-pointer to start the third quarter, sparking a back-and-forth shootout for the lead that saw the game tied four times. Robin Lopez scored the go-ahead lay-up with 6:55 remaining in the third, going on to score 11 straight unanswered points. New Orleans never lost the lead.

Lopez ended the game with 21 points in three quarters, shooting a perfect 4/4 from the field and 3/3 from the line in the third. He sat out for the entirety of the final period.

“We did a really good job of being on the same page; moving the ball well and executing were keys for the win, Lopez said after the game. “I was setting screens and reaping the benefits. They just found me!”

The Hornets defense forced 16 turnovers, and snagged 11 steals, scoring 27 points off of the Bucks’ mistakes.

Ryan Anderson scored 22 points tonight, his second game in a row with 20-plus.

The Hornets bench contributed 34 points. Lance Thomas scored a season-high 10 points in the 15 minutes he was active. Jason Smith scored 10 of his 12 points in the 4th quarter.

Larrry Sanders, off the Bucks’ bench, had seven blocks.

Before this loss Milwaukee was tied with Chicago for the top spot in the Central Division.

“The pick and roll hurt us,” said Bucks guard Brandon Jennings. “We weren’t getting weak side help. It has to be a total team effort to stop that going forward.”

This was the first of a five-game homestand for the Hornets, who have won two of their last four games, improving their record to 5-11. But their stretch of strong opponents won’t end just yet: they still face the Lakers on Wednesday and the Memphis Grizzlies, who lead the Western Conference, on Friday.

“For us to be engaged, we’ve got to defend, we’ve got to be scrappy, we’ve got to go get it,” said the Hornets’ Roger Mason.

“And that’s that,” he added.

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