NEW ORLEANS — This time, New Orleans’ late-quarter shooting woes weren’t limited to the final eight minutes of a game.
The Hornets were outscored 15-2 in the final 5 ½ minutes of the first half and couldn’t bounce back, losing 93-72 to Golden State.
Both teams were playing the second games of back-to-backs, but Golden State’s 30-point win over Houston allowed it to rest as Sunday’s game ended. The Hornets lost a heart-breaker in Minnesota when Eric Gordon’s last-second shot was blocked at the rim in Minneapolis.
New Orleans (22-46) appeared to be the weary ones, too, as the game progressed. After shooting 44 percent in the opening quarter, the Hornets made just 20 of 65 shots in the final three quarters, producing a 14-point and 11-point quarter each.
“We shot 33 percent – that’s a tough, tough way to lose a game, especially when those guys (Hornets) compete the way they did,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said. “The second and fourth quarter just hurt us.”
Meanwhile, Golden State (39-30) couldn’t be shut down, shooting an efficient 50 percent, including going 10 of 19 from 3-point range. And it was guard Steph Curry that the Hornets couldn’t stop. He scored a game-high 30 points, including going 6-for-9 from long distance, and has scored at least 26 points in four of the past five games.
After losing several games in the final quarter in the past month, including losing an 18-point fourth quarter lead to the Lakers, New Orleans’ scoring issues crept up earlier Monday night.
The Hornets kept pace for the open 18 minutes of the game, even leading 22-19 after the first quarter. But the Warriors put the game away with that stretch that ended the first quarter.
After Greivis Vasquez put New Orleans up 34-30 with 5:48 to go on a running jumper, former Hornet Jarrett Jack got Golden State’s roll started with a nine-foot jumper.
The Warriors’ run ended when David Lee converted a layup with 13 seconds to go in the half.
It’s what happened in between that turned the game. New Orleans went 1-for-10 and turned the ball over six times.
“We just didn’t hit the shots,” said Hornets forward Ryan Anderson, who led the team with 21 points off the bench. “I had some good looks that just didn’t fall. They’re a veteran team and they have some guys that used to play here and kind of know our system. Maybe that took us out of our rhythm down the stretch. We just missed too many open shots.”
Vasquez added 14 points and nine assists and Anthony Davis had 16 points and seven rebounds.
It won’t get any easier for New Orleans, either.
While the Hornets have a season-long seven-game home stand, Only one of the remaining six games is against a team not currently in the playoff race and that’s the home stand finale.