Hornets deal Wizards another road loss

Washington's John Wall battles with fellow point guard Chris Paul for a loose ball in the second half.
Washington's John Wall battles with fellow point guard Chris Paul for a loose ball in the second half. (Patrick Semansky)
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By Brett Martel
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

NEW ORLEANS - Reserve power forward Jason Smith scored a career-high 20 points in a rare start at center and the New Orleans Hornets defeated Washington, 97-89, on Tuesday night, dropping the Wizards to 0-25 on the road.

"It was a special game, a career night for me," said Smith, who started because of Emeka Okafor's left oblique muscle strain.

Chris Paul had 15 points and nine assists and Trevor Ariza had 16 points for New Orleans, which snapped a two-game skid.

While Okafor's injury left the Hornets without a starter averaging a double-double in points and rebounds, the 7-foot Smith looked comfortable filling in and hit his first nine shots on an array of dunks, tip-ins and jump shots from as far as 18 feet.

"He brought the right kind of energy tonight," Hornets Coach Monty Williams said. "He was attacking the rim, he made the right cuts and got to the free throw line."

Nick Young scored 30 points for Washington, which trailed by double digits most of the second half in losing its sixth straight overall.

Andray Blatche had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Kirk Hinrich added 10 points for the Wizards, who are four road losses from matching the 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks' NBA worst 0-29 start on the road.

The second-worst road start in NBA history belongs to the 1974-75 New Orleans Jazz, who opened 0-28 away from home.

"We're not giving in and we're not giving up," Blatche said. "We're just playing scared. It's tough when you fight the whole game and you come up short.

"I'm sure that if we keep playing like we're playing, we're going to pull off a road win."

The Hornets led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter when David Andersen hit a jumper, but the Wizards responded with a quick 7-0 spurt capped by Hinrich's layup as he was fouled to make it 85-75 with more than half the quarter left.

New Orleans then missed on its next possession, but Willie Green, who had 11 points, stole the ball from Hinrich and went the other way for a fast-break layup. New Orleans was then able maintain a double-digit lead until less than a minute remained.

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