Hornets need OT to get past Magic
Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) – Jannero Pargo mustered 25 points and the
Hornets won a defensive struggle with suffocating defense in overtime,
knocking off the Orlando Magic, 84-78, at the Ford Center.
The Magic didn’t score in overtime until Keyon Dooling drained a three-pointer
with seven ticks remaining, far too late to snap a two-game losing streak.
The Hornets didn’t pile on the points in the extra session either, as Rasual
Butler’s jumper in the opening minute was the club’s only field goal. Pargo,
Butler, Devin Brown and Desmond Mason combined to drain 7-of-8 from the
charity stripe to seal the victory.
Mason had 21 points and nine rebounds, Butler totaled 19 points and 11 boards,
and Brown donated 11 points and six rebounds for the Hornets, who have won
Dwight Howard had his customary double-double — 17 points and 15 rebounds —
while former Detroit Pistons draft pick Darko Milicic joined the club with 11
points and 10 boards.
Hedo Turkoglu had 16 points and seven rebounds and Jameer Nelson added 12
points in the loss.
“We just got off to a slow start and didn’t play hard enough,” Milicic
said. “They were tough tonight, you have to give them credit.”
The Hornets took a 73-71 lead with 2:28 left in regulation on Pargo’s jumper,
but Nelson responded with a contested fadeaway. Mason made a pair from the
charity stripe, then Howard stepped to the foul line with six ticks left.
The big man made the first, but hit the back rim on the second. However,
Milicic got inside position on Tyson Chandler, and the Hornets center went
over Milicic’s back to commit his sixth foul.
Milicic drained the second of two free throws to force overtime.
In overtime, the Hornets gave Hilton Armstrong the task of guarding Howard.
The UConn product responded, blocking Howard’s only clean field goal attempt
of the extra session.
“At the start of overtime, our players were just talking to each other and
saying how we were going to win the game,” Hornets head coach Byron Scott
said. “We came out and did a great job of getting stops.”
The first half was an offensive struggle, leaving New Orleans/Oklahoma City in
front 38-33. The lead increased to 61-53 after three stanzas.
The teams have split two games this season…Chandler had 10 rebounds and
three blocks…The game featured six ties and three lead changes…Nelson was
whistled for a technical foul during the third quarter…Hornets starting
forward Marc Johnson was 0-for-5 with two rebounds in just over 21 minutes.