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- Hornets’ general manager Dell Demps said guard Eric Gordon has been cleared for full contact and will be integrated into practices next week. Gordon has yet to play for the Hornets this season, due to lingering soreness in his left knee. Prior to the game, Gordon shot on the Hornets’ home floor for the first time since leaving New Orleans for Los Angeles to rehab his injured knee in November.
- The Pacers decided to employ an unorthodox travel schedule prior to tonight’s game in New Orleans, departing Cleveland this morning rather than late Friday night following Indiana’s 99-89 win over the Cavaliers. Pacers’ coach Frank Vogel said weather in Cleveland pushed its estimated departure back until nearly 2 a.m., so he opted to allow his players to stay the night and push the flight back until 10:45 a.m. “It was very different, but once we got here it was a normal afternoon,” Vogel said. “We didn’t have our team meeting, so we could get off our feet and rest, but we’ll cover all of that in pregame film and just condense it a little bit.”
- Hornets’ coach Monty Williams said his team isn’t any more “desperate” to win a game than usual, despite its current 10-game losing streak. New Orleans currently holds the longest losing streak in the Western Conference. It hasn’t won since beating Milwaukee 102-81 on Dec. 3. “We try to put the same level of desperation on any game,” Williams said. “When you’re in a losing streak like this you’re just trying to get out of it. You know, you’ll fight somebody to get out of it.”
- The Hornets will start two rookies, forward Anthony Davis and guard Austin Rivers. Williams said the pair is finding out just how deep the NBA is, but doesn’t think either is discouraged by what they’ve seen on a night-to-night basis. “It’s a grind to go against guys who are just as talented or more talented than you are,” Williams said. “That’s the biggest surprise, and you don’t realize it until you get to the league. The shot you could get off in college or high school isn’t working now.”
– Scott Kushner