So much for that dropoff without Chris Paul.
The New Orleans Hornets are one of the few unbeatens this season and shoot for a 3-0 start tonight versus the Phoenix Suns in the Big Easy. Paul was shipped to the Los Angeles Clippers before the 2011-12 season started and many speculated the Hornets would struggle without the All-Star guard.
New Orleans has defied the odds so far with back-to-back wins to start the season and look for their second straight 3-0 start since ripping off eight wins in a row to begin last season's schedule. The Hornets already defeated the Suns this season with an 85-84 victory on Monday and are coming off Wednesday's 97-78 triumph versus a struggling Boston club.
Jarrett Jack poured in 21 points and dished out nine assists, while Carl Landry had a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which played without new guard Eric Gordon. Gordon came over from the Clippers in the Paul deal and did not play because of a bruised knee. Gordon could return tonight and head coach Monty Williams said he's day-to-day. Jack picked up the slack to keep his team unbeaten.
"I'm glad we won, we played hard and with a lot of grit," Williams said. "Sometimes you have to grit your teeth and play. We didn't have Eric [Gordon], so we needed to find those 20 points somewhere."
Phoenix lost its first two games of the season at home to New Orleans and Philadelphia, and fell to 0-2 to start a season for the first time since losing the first 13 contests of the 1996-97 campaign. The Suns then won 40 of their next 69 games that year to reach the postseason.
"It's so hard for us to get a shot off and to get a rhythm. I'm really disappointed, but you can't stay there," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry told the team's site. "I've got to start thinking about what we are going to do in the next game ... We don't have time to linger in pity. We've got to regroup and figure out what we can do."
The Suns will play two straight and three of their next four games on the road, and also brought in oft-injured guard Michael Redd this week. Redd had spent his entire career with the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 20.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 578 contests. However, he has been limited to just 61 games over the last three seasons because of knee injuries. He tore the MCL and ACL in his left knee during both the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Phoenix has lost four straight to the Hornets. These two teams have split the past 16 games n the Big Easy.