Friday , Mar , 31 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Still in playoff hunt: Hornets top Grizzlies

Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) – Marc Jackson scored a season-high 24
points and grabbed seven rebounds, as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
held on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 107-102, at the Ford Center.

Chris Paul scored 21 points, snatched seven rebounds and dished out five
assists while Linton Johnson scored 16 points and Rasual Butler added 15 for
the Hornets, who pulled within 1 1/2 games of eighth place Sacramento for the
final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“We didn’t loose our focus, we did everything we talked about doing in
pre-game,” said Hornets head coach Byron Scott. “We made some mistakes but we
were able to get through them with our aggressiveness, and that is what I was
most proud of tonight.”

Bobby Jackson scored a game-high 26 points off the bench while Shane Battier
totaled 24 points and 10 boards for the Grizzlies, who trail the Los Angeles
Clippers by 1 1/2 games for the fifth spot in the West.

“They just came in aggressive,” said Bobby Jackson. “They took what we gave
them. They made shots early and that just set the tone throughout the whole
game of trying to get to the basket, spotting up and hitting 3’s.”

The Grizzlies took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Hornets
quickly took a four-point lead as Paul hit two free throws with 8:22 left to
put the Hornets up, 81-77.

With 41 seconds to play, Bobby Jackson drove past Marc Jackson for a layup to
bring the Grizzlies within one, 99-98. However with 20.9 seconds left, Paul
answered with a conventional three-point play as he drove past Bobby Jackson
and went right at Battier, drawing a foul and connecting on the free throw to
put the Hornets up, 102-98. The Hornets put the game away by shooting 5-of-6
from the charity stripe in the last 14 seconds.

The Hornets outscored the Grizzlies 10-3 over the final 3:20 of the first
quarter. Marc Jackson hit a pair of layups to start the run and Johnson
followed a Speedy Claxton miss with a dunk to put the Hornets up 26-18 after
one quarter.

An 8-1 run midway through the second frame brought the Grizzlies within three,
34-31. Bobby Jackson scored the last five points of the spurt and had 10
points in the first half. Chucky Atkins hit a free throw to briefly put the
Grizzlies on top by one, but Johnson hit a jumper with two seconds left in the
half to give the Hornets a 44-43 lead at the break.

A Marc Jackson jumper early in the third quarter capped an 8-0 run for the
Hornets and put them ahead, 54-46. Memphis slowly chipped away at the lead and
with 42 seconds left in the quarter took the lead on a pair of Battier foul

Game Notes

The Hornets have won three of the four meetings between the two teams this
season…Memphis has lost three straight games after winning its previous
seven…The Hornets shot 59.4 percent from the floor while the Grizzlies hit
on 49.3 percent…Memphis lost despite turning the ball over just eight times,
compared to 14 turnovers for the Hornets.