Hornets 95, Heat 84
NEW ORLEANS (AP)—Desperate for a victory, the New Orleans Hornets found an ugly but effective way to get one.
The Hornets shot just 35 percent from the field, but their determination to go hard to the rim allowed them to tie a franchise record with 42 points on free throws in a 95-84 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.
Baron Davis had 33 points, going 14-of-14 from the foul line, and 10 rebounds as New Orleans snapped Miami’s three-game winning streak.
“We had the ball at the rim all night long,” Hornets coach Tim Floyd said. “I thought Baron’s shot selection was terrific. I thought his willingness to penetrate was outstanding.”
Davis, who said he takes personal responsibility for Hornets’ losses, was 9-of-20 on field goals, scoring on spot-up jumpers, fadeaways and drives.
“Winning cures a lot of things and playing hard is something I have to continue to do as the leader of this team,” Davis said.
The Hornets, which had lost four of five coming in, opened the fourth quarter with an 10-1 run to take an 82-72 lead. Miami tried to climb back with eight 3-point attempts in the period, but missed them all.
David Wesley scored 19 points for New Orleans, including all 11 of his foul shots. As a team, New Orleans was 42-for-46.
“It was an ugly, physical game,” Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. “When you get outrebounded by 20 and the other team shoots 30 more free throws you’re probably not going to win.”
Eddie Jones led Miami with 18 points but was 1-of-8 from 3-point range, contributing to the Heat’s 5-of-24 shooting from long range.
The attendance of 11,036 was the lowest of the season for New Orleans.
Jones’ steal and dunk got the Heat as close as 89-84 with 1:58 to go, but Miami’s scoring disappeared afterward while the Hornets continued to make foul shots.
A day after being addressed at practice by majority owner George Shinn, the Hornets started the game with intensity and precision.
Davis and Wesley combined to make the Hornets’ first four shots, including a 3 by Wesley, and New Orleans thwarted Miami’s first four possessions for a 9-0 lead.
The Heat climbed back into the game and took a 31-30 lead on Brian Grant’s mid-range jumper in the second quarter. Dwyane Wade followed with a double pump layup as he drove in on a fast break, Grant hit a baseline jumper and Wade dunked to make it 37-30. Miami led 51-48 at halftime.
“We had a little adversity but we hung in there tough,” Brown said. “We really stepped up when we had to—made the stops and got the rebounds. “They score a lot of points in transition and I thought we really did a good job getting back on defense.”
New Orleans regained the lead, 72-71 by the end of the third quarter. Miami was over the team foul limit with 6:27 left in the period, with Grant having committed five and being pulled from the game (Grant would foul out after playing one more minute late in the fourth quarter). New Orleans made 14 trips to the line in the period, outscoring Miami 13-2 on foul shots.
“They got so many offensive rebounds and second-chance points, putbacks. After a while, you begin to have to foul them rather than have them dunk and lay the ball in,” Alston said. “They were scrapping down the stretch, comingup with all the loose balls and second-chance points and second rebounds.”
Alston’s 3-pointer in the first quarter marked his 31st consecutive game with at least one 3. … Hornets assistant coach Alvin Gentry was ejected by referee Bennett Salvatore in the fourth quarter for arguing that David West was shooting and should have been given free throws when he was fouled. … Jamal Mashburn, who will be out for about three weeks, missed his first game since returning from right knee surgery shortly before the All-Star break. TheHornets are 26-19 without Mashburn, 8-11 with him.