New Orleans looks fresh and defensively charged since returning from the all-star break. The Hornets won their second in a row Friday night in Minneapolis, defeating the Timberwolves 95-81. Despite the absence of David West who missed the game due to a death in the family, New Orleans didn't miss a beat. The Hornets were absolutely relentless on defense, flustering Minnesota all night. Emeka Okafor returned from an oblique injury after missing ten games and patrolled the paint all night. Here is more from the AP and

 After slumping into the All-Star break, the New Orleans Hornets have buzzed back.With Emeka Okafor patrolling the paint again, they pushed around the Minnesota Timberwolves with a tenacious performance that even had coach Monty Williams calling a couple of his players pit bulls for their scrappy effort off the bench.

Trevor Ariza scored 18 points, making four 3-pointers, and Chris Paul had 17 points and eight assists to help the Hornets hand the Timberwolves their seventh straight loss, 95-81 on Friday night.

"They've got some defenders there, some nasty players, and they just started playing some real tough, physical basketball," Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said.

New Hornet Carl Landry broke into the team with 27 productive minutes off the bench. While he was out of place at times, that can be expected since he has only been with the organization a day. His defense was impressive, which will ultimately dictate how much playing time he gets. Offensively, Landry will be efficient off the bench. He only had 4 points Friday night, but expect his scoring to go up as he learns the offense.

I know many will point out that the last two wins came against the Clippers and Timberwolves, and it's a fair point. However, the defense that the Hornets showed early in the season and during their ten game winning streak has been on display the last two games. That's what should excite Hornet fans. Scoring will come and go, but it's the Hornets defense that will determine how far they go this year.

More From 103.3 The GOAT