Monty Williams emptied his bench late in the 4th quarter. A sense of relief in knowing his team had the victory procured, Williams could rest easy as his New Orleans Hornets cruised to an easy 102-81 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Aside from the outstanding 52.4 percent (43 of 82) shooting from the field, defense is what had Williams' smiling the most. The win marks the only the 2nd in the last 11 games for New Orleans, and in the 8 of the 9 losses, the Hornets gave up 100 or more points. Not Monday night. Thanks to a swarming defensive effort, the Bucks could only manage 31 second-half points. (New Orleans had 49)

"Shots may not fall every night, but we can play defense every night. And that's something (Williams) really stressed to us," explained Hornets forward Jason Smith. "Having tonight's game, it really made us realize that getting good stops on the defensive end, really helps us on the offensive end."

Smith was one of 6 Hornets to finish in double-figures, and one of 3 off the bench. Smith's 12, Brian Roberts' 10, and Lance Thomas' 10 paced the reserves to a solid offensive outing.

Starters Robin Lopez and Ryan Anderson were fantastic on both ends. Lopez (pictured) finished with a season-high 21. Anderson led the way with 22 points and 7 rebounds. He was happy about the lop-sided score, and even happier that it came at the Hive.

"We needed an effort game and we needed to prove to ourselves that when we play like that we can beat a team by a big margin," said Anderson. "We needed a win like that at home, too. That was a big win in a lot of ways. It sparks our confidence."

Let's see if that confidence carries over to Wednesday night's showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers. Tip-off from the Hive is set for 7:00.

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