MILWAUKEE – Marco Belinelli made a career-high six 3-pointers and scored a season-high 22 points to lead the short-handed New Orleans Hornets to a 92-89 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
Chris Kaman added 18 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans. Gusvtavo Ayon had 12 points and 12 rebounds, as New Orleans (6-23) won its second straight game for the first time starting the season 2-0.
Ersan Ilyasova led the Bucks with a season-high 23 points, two off his career high, but the Bucks dropped their third straight and sixth of eight to fall further out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, with the surging New York Knicks now in the No. 8 spot.
New Orleans had lost eight in a row and 17 of 18 before beating Portland, 86-80, on Monday.
The Hornets led the entire second half and by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, but the Bucks kept it close in the fourth.
Belinelli's 3-pointer put the Hornets up 87-81 with 2:59 left, and Brandon Jennings responded with a 3 with 2:40 remaining. Ayon's reverse layup made it 89-84 with 1:28 left. Mike Dunleavy hit a 3-pointer to cut it to 89-87, before Belinelli sealed the win with two free throws with 15.5 seconds remaining.
The Hornets led 50-45 at halftime despite 15 points from Ilyasova, two off his season high.
New Orleans heated up in the third quarter, leading by as many as 13 behind three Belinelli 3-pointers and eliciting boos from the small home crowd. But the Bucks drew within 72-71 with a 12-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters.
Jennings, the Bucks leading scorer, (18.4 points per game) had 18 points but struggled from the field (7 of 21).
The Hornets only dressed 10 players and remained without their three leading scorers, leading rebounder and leading assist man.
Emeka Okafor missed his second straight game with a sore left knee, and Jarrett Jack missed his third straight with a bruised left knee. Carl Landry (second degree MCL sprain) and Jason Smith (concussion) have both missed the last five games.
And leading scorer Eric Gordon has missed 22 straight games with a right knee contusion. Gordon had successful arthroscopic surgery to clean up his right knee on Tuesday and will miss approximately six weeks, the team said.
Gordon, a restricted free agent after the season, injured his knee in the first quarter of the team's opening game and has played in just two games for the Hornets after being acquired along with Al-Farouq Aminu and Kaman in the trade that sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Notes: Prior to the game, the Hornets signed Solomon Jones to a 10-day contract . The 6-foot-10 Jones, who played 10 minutes Wednesday, appeared in 10 regular-season games with the Clippers this season before being waived on Feb. 7. He is in his sixth NBA season. . New Orleans has won five of its last six at the Bradley Center, and the Hornets have swept the Bucks in the season series five of the past six years. The two teams will not play again in 2012.