Portland 97, New Orleans 96 (ot)

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NEW ORLEANS (TICKER) —The New Orleans Hornets could have used Jamal Mashburn and Baron Davis on the final play.

New Orleans’ P.J. Brown missed a potential game-winning jumper in overtime, allowing the Portland Trail Blazers to escape with a 97-96 victory, their fifth in six games.

The Hornets lost Mashburn and Davis in the third quarter to a strained right hamstring and a strained left knee, respectively, and neither returned.

“It’s another game,” Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. “They lose Davis and Mashburn earlier in the game. But sometimes it’s not the best for you when they other team loses its top players because then the rest of the team plays even harder to make up for the loss.”

Portland led, 97-92, after Arvydas Sabonis sank two free throws with 1:15 left in the extra session. But Brown answered with a jumper with 55 seconds remaining and a pair of free throws with 34 seconds to play to get the Hornets within a point.

After Derek Anderson missed a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining, David Wesley dribbled into the frontcourt and called timeout with seven seconds to play. But Brown, who had an open look from just behind the right elbow, could not get his shot to drop, giving the Blazers their 10th win in 12 road games.

“We had a zip up for me to get the ball, and run a high pick-and-roll with P.J. and let him knock that elbow shot down,” Wesley said. “I tripped and fell, I got the ball to Elden (Campbell), then Elden got it to Robert (Pack) and we still got it to P.J., and it went in and out. It was a good shot.”

“There was some havoc over there, some chaos,” Brown said. “Somebody slipped down, and somehow Pack ended up with it. I just tried to space out and if the ball came my way, to try to get up as soon as possible, because I knew that it was going to be a quick shot. It came my way, and the shot ended up in my hands, and it just rimmed in and out.”

Anderson scored 27 points, Bonzi Wells added 16 and Zach Randolph 15 and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, who shot just 39 percent (35-of-91) and blew an 11-point third-quarter lead before hanging on for the victory.

Wesley contributed 28 points, Brown had 18 and nine rebounds and Jamaal Magloire 13 and 10 for the Hornets, who were attempting to earn a season high-tying fourth straight victory.

“We just couldn’t manufacture points,” Hornets coach Paul Silas said. “Our only scorer out there was David. It made it really hard to find points.”

The Blazers committed only 10 turnovers in 53 minutes of play.

“We pride ourselves on taking care of the basketball, and that is one thing that coach Cheeks stresses,” said Blazers backup point guard Jeff McInnis. “Each trip we believe that we have to get a quality shot, so we have to take care of the ball. That was a factor in our win.”

Another factor was the Blazers’ inside play. Portland outscored New Orleans in the paint, 44-30, and grabbed 17 of their 44 rebounds on the offensive glass. The Hornets snagged only five of their 42 rebounds on the offensive end.

“We all rebounded well and our game plan was to be patient and go inside tonight,” Randolph said. “When the shots were taken, we wanted to hit the boards real hard and it worked out for us tonight.”

Portland took an 87-86 lead on a layup by Dale Davis with 1:36 to play. After Scottie Pippen missed a 3-point attempt with 36 seconds left, the Hornets called timeout. But after the break, New Orleans did not get a shot off as the 24-second clock expired with 10.7 seconds to play.

Wells made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Blazers an 88-86 lead with 8.6 seconds left, but after a Hornets timeout, Wesley split a double-team and banked a spinning jumper with 3.4 seconds remaining to tie the game.

“I was trying to string out the defense a little bit, (but) they cut it off,” Wesley said. “I made a spin move when I came out of (the double-team), I stepped through it and to the basket and was wide open, and I just banked it off the glass.”

Pippen missed a finger roll just before the buzzer, sending the game to overtime.

Portland led at the half, 49-44, and extended its advantage to 59-48 on an 18-foot turnaround jumper by Wells with 7:04 left in the third quarter.

New Orleans got within 71-68 at the end of the period and neither team led by more than four points in the fourth quarter.

“This was a close game but you have to believe that you can win the close ones,” Cheeks said. “Right now we feel good about ourselves. We scored enough to win but the defense carried us.”

“We played great tonight,” Silas said. “We had not business being in the game, to tell you the truth. These guys find a way to keept it close. And we will win our share. But it’s a rought time right now.”

Mashburn is listed as day-to-day, but Davis will undergo an MRI Saturday to determine the severity of his injury.

“We’re going to play hard, no matter what the circumstances are,” Brown said. “We hung in there, we did a great job. It’s sort of like a moral victory, but it’s hard to swallow because we definitely thought we should have won this game.”

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
D. Anderson D. Anderson
10-19,  27 Pts
2 Rebs, 5 Assists
 New Orleans
D. Wesley D. Wesley
11-18,  28 Pts
4 Rebs, 2 Assists

Team Stat Leaders