Hornets 99, Clippers 93
NEW ORLEANS (AP)—New Orleans coach Tim Floyd demanded better second-half defense, and this time the Hornets answered the challenge.
Coming off a 25-point blown lead in a loss at Cleveland, the Hornets forced the Los Angeles Clippers into 13 second-half turnovers—including eight in the final period—to take a 99-93 victory Wednesday night.
“Coach got on us (at halftime). He challenged us on the defensive end and we were able to extend our pressure,” said Hornets guard Baron Davis, who had 26 points, nine assists and two second-half steals. “We’re a good defensive ballclub when we want to play defense and tonight was just a tale of two different halves.”
Los Angeles averages 16 turnovers per game but didn’t give the ball away once in the first half—a factor in the Clippers being down only 50-49 at halftime despite New Orleans’ 53 percent shooting.
“I liked our effort. We did a lot of good things—but too many turnovers in the fourth quarter,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “It was hard to overcome that.”
Jamaal Magloire had 21 points and 14 rebounds, including a jump hook off an offensive rebound to give New Orleans a 91-85 lead with just under two minutes left.
“Coach went to me the first possession of the game. I was able to score and get into the rhythm,” Magloire said. “He called plays for me and got me the ball in an open area. Me and P.J. (Brown) were involved and that’s been the difference.”
Jamal Mashburn scored 20 for the Hornets, who snapped a two-game losing skid. Brown hit a pair of late jumpers and grabbed a key defensive rebound with 28 seconds remaining as part of his 14 points and 12 rebounds.
“After Monday’s loss we needed a win in the worst way,” Brown said. “Until we get our tough mentality back on the defensive end … we will continue to have inconsistency in our game.”
Elton Brand led Los Angeles with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while reserve Chris Wilcox had 18, including a dunk that cut New Orleans’ lead to 93-91 inside the final 30 seconds. But the Clippers were forced to foul, and Darrell Armstrong made four free throws in the final 20 seconds.
“I’m frustrated. Davis made some big shots, Magloire up for the rebounds, Mashburn solid all game,” Brand said. “We just can’t get over the hump. Turnovers here, bad plays here, a lack of execution there and that’s the ballgame.”
Davis missed Wednesday morning’s shootaround, and coach Tim Floyd said Davis was having stomach problems and might not play. But Davis started and was solid throughout, turning turnovers into points on half-court drives or crisp passes in transition to open shooters. He also hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, one from several feet behind the arc.
“I’m still hurting. I didn’t think I would have too much energy to really play,” Davis said. “I just went out there and tried to be there for my teammates.”
Quentin Richardson scored 18 for the Clippers, 13 in the first half. Corey Maggette added 16, and his 3-pointer got Los Angeles as close as 84-83 with just under four minutes to go. But Davis responded with a straightaway 3 and the Clippers could only get as close as two points the rest of the way.
“You score on me, I’m definitely going to come back and score on you, especially when you’re talking trash,” said Davis, who’d received a technical foul earlier after approaching the Clippers’ bench and exchanging words withseveral players during a timeout.
Mashburn left the game after the first quarter with a strained hamstring but returned four minutes later and hit the first shot he took. … Hornets reserve forward Robert Traylor was given permission to miss the game because his grandmother had a stroke. … Chris Kaman jammed a finger on his left hand midway through the first quarter and did not return. … The Clippers were playing their fifth game in eight days, fourth on the road. They are 2-3over that stretch and have lost seven of nine.