Hornets 101, Bucks 100
NEW ORLEANS (AP)—Jamal Mashburn didn’t even need a full game to regain the form that made him an All-Star last season.
Returning from minor surgery on his right knee, Mashburn made his first game of the season one to remember by scoring New Orleans’ final 13 points as the Hornets pulled out a 101-100 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
He started slow but was 8-for-10 in the second half—draining the eventual game-winner on a 15-foot turnaround over Desmond Mason with 12 seconds left— and finished with a team-high 24 points.
“In the second half, the anxiousness pretty much went away,” Mashburn said. “I enjoyed myself tonight and I’m glad the guys had enough confidence in me and I had enough confidence in myself to go out there and produce.”
Baron Davis, back after missing three games with a sprained left ankle, scored 23 points, including four 3-pointers, as New Orleans won its third straight and snapped the Bucks’ three-game winning streak. The victory moved the Hornets a game ahead of Milwaukee for third place in the Central Division.
“Baron’s having a tremendous season, one of the best I’ve seen as far as a point guard, and we were a 1-2 punch,” Mashburn said.
Hornets coach Tim Floyd said it was “nice to have another guy in addition to Baron that teams have to worry about how they are going to guard him.”
“All of our offense stuff looked a lot better,” Floyd said.
Michael Redd tied a career high with 40 points and hit a runner that gave the Bucks a 100-99 lead with 22 seconds left.
Coming out of a timeout, the Hornets got the ball to Mashburn to the left of the lane. He posted up on Mason and took his winning shot before Dan Gadzuric could arrive for a double-team.
“He got hot there and once he gets hot it doesn’t matter who’s guarding him, one or two people. He’s going to make the shot,” Davis said. “It’s just a great victory. We got a tremendous effort from our whole team.”
On the other end, Redd’s scoop shot was blocked out of bounds with 4.3 seconds left, then Toni Kukoc’s last-second jumper from the corner went off the front rim.
“Overall guys busted their butt and we gave ourselves a chance to win,” Bucks coach Terry Porter said. “Mash came off the bench and made some tough shots.”
Damon Jones scored 14 and Mason 12 for the Bucks.
Jones’ fourth 3-pointer gave Milwaukee a 92-88 lead, but Mashburn began to take over the game as he did so many times last season. He hit a technical free throw and three straight fadeaways in a 7-0 run that put New Orleans up 95-92 with under four minutes to go.
Redd, who scored 40 points a week ago in the Bucks’ victory over Orlando, had 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting in the first half.
“I had a good rhythm in the beginning,” said Redd, who scored only four points in the fourth quarter. “This is a sour one, though. You’d rather get the win.”
Mashburn did not start and was cheered loudly when he entered the game midway through the first quarter. He hit only one of his first eight shots, but then followed his own miss with a 16-foot buzzer-beater to cut the score to 58-53 at halftime.
Mashburn then hit three of four shots to start the second half, including a fade that capped an 8-0 run that gave New Orleans a 65-60 lead.
“Mashburn looks like a heck of a candidate for sixth man of the year,” Hornets coach Tim Floyd said. “He played very unselfishly early. His presencedown inside got us a lot of open looks from a lot of spots on the floor.”
Tim Thomas left the game a minute into the third quarter after spraining his left ankle. … Mason went down hard on his face after converting an alley-oop dunk in the second quarter. Robert Traylor’s body made contact with Mason’s legs as Mason put the ball down, causing Mason to come down off-balance. He left to get a small bandage on his nose and tape on his wrist before returning with just over five minutes remaining in the first half. … Tierre Brown, a former McNeese State star who was signed to a 10-day contract after David Wesley sprained his big left toe, was in uniform for the Hornetsbut did not play.