Slowly but surely road gets easierThe Hornets returned to Oklahoma City for Thursday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks after finishing a three-game road trip at 2-1. They improved their road record to 8-16 and appear to have figured out how to win in opponents' buildings. "I think we're slowly but surely figuring it out,” Tyson Chandler said. "This team has been through a lot as far as players coming in and out of the lineup. Every time you take somebody out and put somebody in, it changes the flow and pace of the game. So I think we're just going through a bunch of adapting.” Before Saturday's win at Houston, the Hornets had lost 10 of their past 12 road games dating back to Nov. 22. Four of their road wins came in the season's first three weeks. "We can win on the road, we proved that early in the year,” forward Rasual Butler said. "It was unfortunate that we had a bunch of injuries at one time. It's not an excuse, but I think that confidence was still there. And the healthier we got, we showed that we can still win on the road.” •Jackson has broken left thumb: Hornets guard Bobby Jackson has a broken left thumb, explaining much of his struggles of the past three weeks. Jackson said he sustained the injury on Jan. 19 against the San Antonio Spurs, the first game in which he returned from a rib injury that caused him to miss 21 of 22 games. "I just didn't talk about it,” Jackson said. "But it's affected my shooting and my ball-handling the most. It's nothing you can do about it. It's painful, so I just try to block it out and go out and play.” Jackson said team doctors advised him that the injury would take three to five weeks to completely heal. Before Thursday night, Jackson was averaging only 6.6 points on 26.5 percent shooting. •Chandler locked in: Entering Thursday night's game, Chandler had recorded 12 rebounds or more in eight consecutive games. He had a simple explanation for his recent surge. "To be totally honest with you, I looked up and I was in sixth place in rebounding,” Chandler said. "And I said, ‘OK, it's time for me to turn it up.' So I tried to kick it up a notch and grab every one. My goal is to grab 13, 14 plus a game for the rest of the season.” •Coming out strong: The Hornets led the Bucks 27-25 after the first quarter Thursday night. It marked a nice change from their previous two games, when the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets combined to outscore them 71-46 in the first period. "It starts on the defensive end of the floor,” Desmond Mason said. "If we get stops, that fuels our offense. But when we don't get stops we put ourselves behind the 8-ball every single time. And in the past couple of games we just hadn't got stops, and that's enabled guys to score big numbers in the first quarter.” •West's ankle affecting shooting touch: Hornets forward David West still has lingering effects from when he rolled his left ankle on Jan. 24. West's has yet to regain all of his mobility and explosiveness. "I think it's showing in his shot more than anything else,” Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "He's missing shots that he normally makes. But it's not something that I'm real, real concerned about.” West entered Thursday night shooting 39.6 percent in his past eight games. •Overtime perfection: With Wednesday's 114-112 victory over Denver, the Hornets are now 3-0 in overtime games this season. "Hopefully we can play 29 more of them,” Scott deadpanned. "I would love (having) it a little bit easier, though.” By Darnell Mayberry and John Rohde
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