They're still officially the team from New Orleans, but judging by the roaring capacity crowd of 19,163 and the startling success of their Oklahoma City debut Tuesday, the Hornets should be happy to wear those "OKC" patches for a while.
J.R. Smith scored 19 points and had two electrifying dunks as New Orleans beat the Sacramento Kings, 93-67, on the NBA's opening night, which also marked the first of 35 Hornet "home" games in Oklahoma City.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday November 03, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 28 words Type of Material: Correction
Pro basketball -- The NBA Roundup in Wednesday's Sports section gave the score of one of the games as Phoenix 111, Dallas 108. Dallas won the game, 111-108.
"We're a young team, so we feed off the crowd easily," Smith said. "It's a great city, full of great fans."
The crowd chanted "de-fense" and booed when officials called fouls against the team the public address announcer called the "hometown Hornets."
The Hornets will play their other six "home" games in Baton Rouge, La., after being displaced from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.
P.J. Brown had 20 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which wore white jerseys with a hexagonal "OKC" patch on the right shoulder.
Peja Stojakovic had 18 points for the Kings, who uncharacteristically shot only 31.3% and were outscored, 50-31, in the middle two quarters.
Milwaukee 117, Philadelphia 108 -- Michael Redd made the game-tying three-pointer with 1.6 seconds left in regulation to help the Bucks overcome a seven-point deficit before prevailing in overtime at Philadelphia.
Redd finished with 30 points and the Bucks outscored the 76ers, 15-6, in overtime to make Terry Stotts a winner in his Milwaukee coaching debut.
T.J. Ford finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and 14 assists in his first game after cervical spine surgery cost him all of last season. Andrew Bogut, the NBA's No. 1 draft pick, started and had 13 points and nine rebounds.
Allen Iverson scored 35 points and had nine assists, and Chris Webber had 32 points and 14 rebounds for the 76ers, whose loss spoiled Maurice Cheeks' return in his Philadelphia coaching debut.
Phoenix 111, Dallas 108 -- Dirk Nowitzki scored 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and the Mavericks erased a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to win in double overtime at Phoenix.
Nowitzki sank a pair of long jumpers, and Keith Van Horn made a three-pointer in the second overtime. After Van Horn made one of two free throws with 23.7 seconds to play, Steve Nash missed what would have been a game-tying three-pointer at the final buzzer.
Nash finished with 30 points. He added nine assists and eight rebounds but had six turnovers.
San Antonio 102, Denver 91 -- Tony Parker scored 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, and newcomer Michael Finley scored 11 points in the period for the Spurs, who unveiled their third championship banner and handed out title rings beforehand at San Antonio.
The Spurs made 13 of 16 shots in the fourth quarter.
Carmelo Anthony had 23 points for Denver, coached by assistant Scott Brooks instead of George Karl, who is serving a two-game suspension for making improper contact with a prospect in the off-season. The Nuggets also lost forward Nene to a leg injury in the first quarter.