Hornets 125, Kings 118
David West scored 25 points for the Hornets, who shot 56 percent and pulled away late in the fourth quarter to defeat the Kings 125-118.
Defense seemed only an occasional consideration for two teams heading toward the conclusion of disappointing seasons. Both teams had uncontested outside shots throughout and combined to make 19 3-pointers.
“It wasn’t a defensive game, it was more like an All-Star game,” said ex-King Bobby Jackson, who had 20 points and five rebounds for the Hornets. “You have two teams that aren’t looking to make the playoffs. We were just out there to have a good time and try to make things happen.”
It was Rasual Butler making things happen late for the Hornets, who outscored the Kings 31-25 in the fourth quarter. He scored five points in a 7-0 run that put New Orleans ahead for good in the fourth quarter.
Butler tied the game at 114 with a 3-pointer and David West followed with a jumper with 3:27 left to put the Hornets ahead for good.
Moments later Butler connected on another 3-pointer for a five-point lead. He finished with 13 points, including six in the fourth quarter.
“He (Butler) hit some key shots down the stretch,” Hornets coach Byron Scott said. “Bobby helped get us back in the game and Chris (Paul) and David made some big plays late. There were a lot of people who played well tonight.”
“Paul took over the game down the stretch; he’s a guy who is very difficult to keep in front of you,” Kings coach Eric Musselman said. “Not only the way he scores the ball, obviously the way that he finds teammates.”
Ron Artest had 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Sacramento (33-48), which will have its worst record since the 1997-98 season. Francisco Garcia and Mike Bibby each scored 17 points, Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 15, Kevin Martin 12 and Quincy Douby added 10.
Both teams have one game remaining on Wednesday. The Kings meet the Lakers at home and the Hornets play their final game in Los Angeles against the Clippers.
The Kings were inconsistent all season and have played poorly down the stretch as their string of eight straight playoff appearances ended.
“Hopefully we’ll end on a win,” Bibby said. “Pride, just try to win the last game. It’s a long wait if we don’t.”
Injuries were a factor throughout the season for the Hornets, who were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss Saturday to Houston.
“No matter what happens Wednesday night, you have to give our guys a lot of credit for all the stuff we’ve been through,” Scott said. “We still have 38 wins going into that last game.”
Brown scored 16 points as the Hornets rallied from a 16-point deficit to tie the game at 61 by halftime. Abdur-Rahim scored 13 points and Bibby had 12 for the Kings at that point.
^Notes: Jannero Pargo and Bibby have not missed a game all season. … Sacramento’s Justin Williams made only 1-of-4 free throws and is shooting 34 percent this season. … Bibby made four straight 3-pointers in the first quarter, helping Sacramento get off to a 25-9 start