Jason Smith led the New Orleans Hornets with 20 points in 25 minutes in replacing injured Emeka Okafor in the starting lineup as the Washington Wizards lost their 25th straight road game this season 97-89 in the Crescent City. The Hornets ended a two-game losing streak with the win.
Smith matched up with Andray Blatche, who finished with 21 but was thoroughly outplayed by the completely unheralded Smith early in the game as New Orleans built its lead. Smith scored 10 points in the first quarter on 5-5 shooting, and added five more (on 2-2 shooting) in about 3-1/2 minutes in the second. Blatche had eight points on 4-8 shooting in the first half, but his defense was obviously problematic. The Hornets had an 11-point halftime lead, and never looked back.
Who is Smith, you ask? Great question! He was one of those quasi-heralded big white men who produced well at Colorado State, but slide down the draft board due to, well, having played at Colorado State, having high stiff potential and being neither a true power forward or center. He tore his ACL before his rookie season, and never caught on with the Sixers before being included in the Willie Green Trade early this year. But New Orleans is thin up front, and Smith polished his golden opportunity like the jewel it is.
The Wizards are closing in on the worst road record to start a season (0-29), and are two-thirds of the way to the worst single-season road losing streak of all-time (37).