Hornets 119, Suns 111
Posted March 16, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Last week's five-player trade that sent sharpshooter Glen Rice to Los Angeles was widely hailed as a victory for the Lakers. The Charlotte Hornets are pretty content, too.
``It was a great trade as far as I'm concerned,'' Charlotte coach Paul Silas said after Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell made a successful debut in their new home by powering the Hornets to their highest-scoring game of the season, a 119-111 victory over Phoenix on Wednesday night.
Jones made a career-high 15 of 17 free throws and had a season-high 29 points. Campbell had a career-high 19 rebounds and 14 points to help Charlotte win for the first time in three games since the two joined their new team.
``I have to be in an attack mode, and Paul wants me to be in an attack mode by getting to the line and creating things for the other guys,'' Jones said. ``I'm just loving that role. Nothing against Los Angeles. I had that role in Los Angeles for a while, but it quickly disappeared.''
Bobby Phills added 24 points for Charlotte, which shot a season-best 54 percent and never trailed on the way to sending the Suns to their first loss in 11 games this season when they score at least 100.
Charlotte, meantime, improved to 3-3 under Silas, who took over last week after Dave Cowens resigned following the Hornets' 4-11 start.
``We want to put a string of games together, which I think we'll be capable of, and hopefully make a run at this thing,'' Silas said. ``I liked what I saw tonight against a very, very good team. We're a pretty good club right now, and we can only get better.''
Charlotte set season-highs with 38 points in the first quarter and 63 in the first half, helping end a three-game road winning streak by Phoenix.
``That was the worst game we played in a long time,'' coach Danny Ainge said. ``We played bad defense, but our offense was just as bad. I was very disappointed with our effort and intensity.''
Rex Chapman had 25 points while Tom Gugliotta and Clifford Robinson added 19 apiece for Phoenix, which was coming off its most-lopsided victory over the season, an 18-point win in Milwaukee on Tuesday night.
``We turned the ball over early and Charlotte just jumped on us,'' said Phoenix point guard Jason Kidd, who had 17 points and 14 assists. ``Our passes were not as crisp as they usually are. We were forcing it and being impatient, and they hit the big shots when they had to stop the bleeding. It was just one of those nights.''
The Suns fell behind by as many as 20 in the second quarter but rallied by closing the third quarter with an 18-8 run, helping them cut Charlotte's lead to 102-95 on Chapman's 3-pointer with 6:56 left in the game.
But the Hornets scored the next six points, and Phoenix was unable to get closer than six the rest of the way.
The Hornets scored the first seven points of the game, starting a 25-9 surge from which the Suns were unable to completely recover. Charlotte hit eight of its 11 field-goal attempts in the run and converted five Phoenix turnovers into 10 points.
Jones put an exclamation point on the first half with a play that displayed his athleticism. He got out ahead of everyone on a break as the clock was winding down and Derrick Coleman fired a 75-foot pass at him. Jones jumped in the air toward the backboard, caught the ball with his right hand and, in the same motion, flipped it gently off the glass and through the basket as the horn sounded. Notes:@ The Hornets, who had a roster spot open, signed Corey Beck on Wednesday. A backup point guard, Beck did not play against Phoenix. ... Phoenix center Luc Longley sat out his third consecutive game with a bruised left hip. ... Kidd did not have a turnover for the fourth time in eight games. ... The Hornets have won four in a row at home against Phoenix. The Suns' last victory in Charlotte was in March 1995. ... The crowd was announced at 17,837 but appeared to be closer to 9,000-10,000.