As Bucks visit, Hornets’ busy stretch rolls on

NEW ORLEANS — The Hornets’ veteran players met afterSaturday night’s 100-79 drubbing at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Arena, hoping to set things right.

On Monday, in the second of five games in eight nights, the Hornets face the Milwaukee Bucks, the least formidable of their opponents during this stretch. Coming off a recent four-game road trip, the Hornets have lost nine of 10. A victory would be a huge boost since the Hornets face the Lakers, Grizzlies and Heat the rest of the week.

“We have to be a better example for the young guys,” said power forward/center Jason Smith, who attended the meeting. “They’re looking at us, and we’re making all these mistakes. And they’re thinking, ‘Why can’t I do that, too?’ ”

Smith said the Hornets (4-11) have had too much individual play offensively, and that has showed in the team’s performance.

“Going one-on-one too much, not moving the ball,” he said. “We get a stop, we get a rebound and we don’t pass the ball at all; we put up a shot. We’ve got to get a better flow in our offense, swinging the ball two times, getting the defense to move. We’re making it easier on (the opponent’s) defense.”

On Monday, the Hornets face a team that beat them 117-113 on Nov. 17 in Milwaukee. The Hornets pride themselves on playing tough defense, but that game was more of a shootout.

Guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis each had 22 points and nine assists for the Bucks (8-7). They made 13 3-pointers, still a season high, and shot 52 percent on 3s.

Hornets coach Monty Williams said the pair is a main concern Monday night.

“Just their ability to attack the paint,” he said. “They did a good job of probing and finding guys or scoring for themselves. Penetration kills any defense.”

Since that win, though, Milwaukee is 2-5 — even after Saturday’s 91-88 home win against Boston.

Power forward Larry Sanders had 18 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks to key the victory against the Celtics. Sanders had three blocks in the fourth quarter against the Hornets, including one to prevent a driving dunk by forward Ryan Anderson with 18.7 seconds left and Milwaukee leading by four.

In the first meeting, rookie power forward Anthony Davis had a career-high 28 points and added 11 rebounds, tying his best. But Davis will sit out his eighth consecutive game with a stress reaction in his left ankle.

“If I had to guess, I’d say he’s at least a week away from us even thinking about him ramping up his conditioning — let alone playing,” Williams said. “So I still think it’s still far off.”

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