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Hornets Beat Nuggets In Eric Gordon’s Return

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

 Jason Smith stole a Nuggets inbounds pass with 2.1 seconds left, holding off Denver’s comeback attempt and sealing a 94-92 victory for the New Orleans Hornets. The close win, coupled with the return of Eric Gordon, made for an emotional night at the Hive.

After a 90 day layoff due to injury, Gordon (pictured left) returned to the lineup Hornets Wednesday night. He fought through a little rust, scored 15 points, and knocked down two free throws in the final seconds to help secure the victory for New Orleans.

“I just need to get adjusted,” explained Gordon after the win. “I’ll find a way to get better.”

It had been 3 months to the day since Eric last played. While he was certainly working off some rust, he still looked good in 34 minutes of play. Just don’t tell him that.

“I felt fine (physically),” stated Gordon. “I won’t have too many more games like this.”

I guess he’s his own harshest critic.

Jarrett Jack was a late scratch due to a sore ankle, leaving Greivis Vasquez to man the point. Vasquez did an admirable job, finishing with a double-double of 11 points and 10 assists. Chris Kaman had a double-double of his own, chipping in 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Trevor Ariza returned from an injury as well, having missed the last 4 games. He tied Eric Gordon for a team-high 15 points. Smith scored scored 10, and Carl Landry (also returning from injury) scored 12 off the bench.

Monty Williams‘ inserted his NBA-high 22nd different starting lineup of the season. With all the injuries through the year, Williams’ had 11 healthy players in uniform last night. That would be little for a normal team, but it felt like a ton for a club that’s battled their fair share of nicks and bruises throughout the season.

Next up, the Hornets travel to San Antonio to take on the hottest team in the league. Tip-off Friday versus the Spurs is set for 7:30.

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