Hornets 100, Bulls 97, OT
NEW ORLEANS (AP)—Jamal Mashburn’s erratic shooting suddenly became accurate with the game in the balance.
Mashburn struggled for most of the night, finishing 9-of-26 from the floor. But he managed to finish with 27 points, including a 3-pointer with 33 seconds to go in regulation, which ended up forcing the extra period.
“No matter what I shoot from the field, I will always have confidence in my stroke and my ability,” Mashburn said. “I’ve made a lot of shots like that in the past.”
As his winning shot fell through, Mashburn turned and trotted straight for the locker room tunnel, allowing a subtle smile while letting his tongue hang out.
“I don’t know how in the world he made it,” Hornets coach Tim Floyd said. “It was just a big time shot.”
P.J. Brown kept New Orleans in the game through much of regulation, scoring a season-high 22 points, mostly on mid-range jumpers, while grabbing 11 rebounds.
But Brown had mixed feelings about the victory, given that the Bulls are the worst road team in the NBA (6-23) and nearly won the game.
“I’m more concerned with us playing well, playing smarter … just playing harder,” Brown said. “I’m glad we won. Don’t get me wrong, but I’m not overly excited because I know we can play better.”
David Wesley, in his second game and first start since missing 20 games with a big left toe injury, scored 18 points as the Hornets snapped their two-game losing skid.
Jamaal Magloire added 15 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans, which also prevented the Bulls from winning three straight for the first time this season.
Jamaal Crawford led Chicago with 34, including six 3-pointers. His last shot, also a 3, tied the game at 97 with just under 10 seconds left after Mashburn had failed to put the game away by missing a pair of free throws on the other end.
“I’m encouraged by the fact … that we’re making a lot of big plays now that we earlier weren’t making—big offensive plays, big defensive stops when we need them,” Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. “There’s nothing you can do (about Mashburn’s game-winner). Good defense and the guy hits a fadeaway 3.”
Crawford also hit a 3 from the left wing with 49 seconds remaining in regulation to give Chicago a 91-88 lead.
With Baron Davis having fouled out and Mashburn having missed his previous two shots, Floyd called a play that appeared to be designed for Brown or Wesley on the left side. Chicago sealed it off, however, and Wesley swung the ball to Mashburn on the right side of the 3-point line. Mashburn hit it to tie the game at 91.
Crawford then had two shots for the win. His first miss, a 3-point attempt, was called out of bound off of New Orleans. His last-second runner fell short, sending the game to overtime.
Kirk Hinrich had 12 points for Chicago but fouled out with 9:15 left in the fourth quarter, in large part because he was playing aggressive defense on Davis, who Hinrich helped limit to 12 points (Davis averages 23).
“I wanted to play him tough because it would help our team win if you can contain him a little bit,” Hinrich said of Davis.
Chicago committed 32 personal fouls, even going over the team limit of five fouls in the five minute overtime. The Hornets scored four of their nineovertime points at the foul line.
With Wesley back as a starter, the game marked the first time this season Floyd used the starting lineup he envisioned when training camp began. The other starters were Mashburn (who missed the first half of the season with a knee injury), Davis, Magloire and Brown. … Chicago trailed 71-70 after three quarters and are now 1-34 this season when trailing entering the fourth quarter. … Mashburn and Davis combined to hit 3 of their first four shots, then finished the half a combined 0-for-14. … Curry has scored in doublefigures in 14 straight games.