While some of the recent focus has been on coach Monty Williams' comments involving Anthony Davis' concussion, the New Orleans Hornets are off to a solid start even with the No. 1 overall draft pick having to sit out the latest game.
They'll be without him - and their other first-round pick - again Wednesday night.
After recording back-to-back wins over playoff teams from last season, the short-handed Hornets will seek to make it three in a row during a visit from the also hurting Philadelphia 76ers.
Williams was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Tuesday for criticizing the league's concussion policy. Before Saturday's game in Chicago, Williams said, "Now, they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and it's getting old. It's just the way the league is now."
Davis suffered a mild concussion when he was inadvertently elbowed by rookie teammate Austin Rivers in Friday's 88-86 win against Utah.
With Davis out, the Hornets (2-1) knocked off the Bulls 89-82 and allowed them to shoot just 33.0 percent. After hitting a late go-ahead shot versus Utah, Greivis Vasquez scored a team-best 18 points against Chicago, and Ryan Anderson had 12 points and 13 rebounds while starting in Davis' place.
"That's the big thing about a team game," center Robin Lopez said. "Everybody came together and everybody stepped it up."
Lopez and his teammates will have to compensate for the loss of Davis and Rivers on Wednesday. While Davis remains out because of his concussion, Rivers - who's shooting 20.0 percent thus far - will miss his first game with a sprained left index finger.
Fellow rookie Darius Miller will start in Rivers' place.
The 76ers (1-2) are averaging 85.3 points on 37.2 percent shooting, and they made 33.7 percent of their shots Monday while suffering their second loss in as many days to New York, 110-88.
"Points aren't easy to come by and you have to be on the same page," center Spencer Hawes said.
Jrue Holiday, who scored a team-best 17 points, is the only player averaging more than 15.0 with 19.3. The absence of Andrew Bynum, out indefinitely with nagging knee problems, hasn't helped.
Jason Richardson is expected to sit Wednesday because of a sprained left ankle that kept him out Monday, while Kwame Brown is also unlikely to play after leaving the latest loss to the Knicks with a strained left calf.
"We haven't played together, so we're trying to learn how to trust each other," coach Doug Collins said. "We're trying to grow and win at the same time while battling some injuries. We've had a little adversity here."
The 76ers will try to overcome those potential absences to earn their fifth victory in six matchups with the Hornets. Philadelphia won 101-93 in last season's lone meeting Jan. 4 in New Orleans as Holiday scored 23 points and Evan Turner added 21 off the bench.
The 76ers have won two of their past three road games against the Hornets after losing five of the previous six. This contest marks the third consecutive time Philadelphia has traveled to New Orleans during the series.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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