NBA Basketball: New Orleans Hornets at Philly Sixers – Hornets Favored
The power forward looks to continue providing a badly needed offensive lift for his team Tuesday night when the Hornets (16-23) visit the struggling Philadelphia 76ers (11-30).
West had a season-high 26 points and 12 rebounds to help the Hornets to a 113-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, their fourth win in five games.
New Orleans posted its second-highest scoring output of the season, three points shy of its total Nov. 9 in a loss at Golden State. The Hornets are scoring an NBA-worst 90.5 points per game.
"Everybody made plays when their number was called," said West, who had 19 points and 11 boards in a 99-86 defeat at San Antonio on Friday in his first game since suffering the injury Nov. 12.
West – a first-round draft pick by New Orleans in 2003 – missed 30 games following the surgery. Averaging 17.4 points before getting hurt, West now tops the team with 18.6.
West’s absence became increasingly glaring as the Hornets lost three other key contributors after opening the season 8-3.
West, who finished last season as the team’s top scorer with a career-high 18.6 points per game, was joined on the sidelines by Bobby Jackson (cracked ribs), Peja Stojakovic (back surgery) and Chris Paul (ankle sprain).
Jackson is the only other player to return, and had 15 points off the bench Saturday in his second game back after missing 21 of 22 contests.
Paul is expected back next month, while Stojakovic’s return is uncertain.
As the injuries piled up for the Hornets, they went into a 4-19 tailspin, but have rebounded to win four of their last five.
With West and Jackson back, New Orleans will look to snap a three-game losing streak at Philadelphia. The teams have alternated wins and losses in the last six overall meetings, with the home team winning each time.
In the last matchup at the Wachovia Center on Nov. 21, 2005, West had 20 points and nine rebounds, but the Sixers prevailed 103-91.
The 76ers, owners of the worst record in the Eastern Conference, dropped to 3-14 against West foes with a 99-85 loss to San Antonio on Sunday. They fell behind 30-15 after the first quarter and could not recover.
"The start of the game was not one of our best," coach Maurice Cheeks said. "I think that’s what put us in such a hole. We’ve been through that before where you put yourself in such a hole and you’re trying to climb out of it."
Philadelphia has dropped four of its last five games by an average of 13.5 points.
Cheeks is expected to use 7-footer Steve Hunter and 6-11 Samuel Dalembert together in the frontcourt for the third consecutive game. They have combined for 43 points and 39 rebounds in the last two contests.
"It clogs up the middle and gives us a nice rebounding edge," Cheeks said of the big lineup. "It’s a nice defensive presence in the middle, with those two guys."
The 76ers and Hornets will meet for the second and final time this season Jan. 31 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.
By: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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