Butler’s basket sends Hornets past Clippers
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Rasual Butler hit a follow-up jumper with
1.5 seconds remaining to lift the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets past the
Los Angeles Clippers, 86-83, in the season-finale for both clubs.
Corey Maggette’s layup failed to fall for LA with just over 24 seconds to play
and the rebound squirted out-of-bounds. The officials originally gave
possession to the Clippers, but after conferring with each other, they
overruled the call and gave possession to the Hornets.
Bobby Jackson held the ball as time ran down before dishing to Marc Jackson
for a 19-foot jumper. His shot was off, but Butler was there to put back the
rebound while being fouled by Jason Hart. The product of Philadelphia’s La
Salle University converted the three-point play and Elton Brand couldn’t get
off a three-pointer as time expired for LA.
With a win and a Golden State loss to Portland, the Clippers could have
clinched the eighth and final playoffs spot in the Western Conference. The
Warriors, though, routed the Trail Blazers and locked up the final playoff
berth as LA battled the Hornets down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
“I’m disappointed we lost the game tonight,” said Clippers head coach Mike
Dunleavy. “By halftime, we knew Golden State was up by 18 and our guys came
out flat. I think our nucleus will continue to get better. I’m looking forward
to next year.”
David West scored 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Hornets (39-43),
who will play next season solely in New Orleans for the first time since the
2004-2005 season, before Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city. Devin Brown and
Marc Jackson each scored 12 points, while Butler finished with 11.
Maggette had 21 points and 11 boards for the Clippers (40-42), who were
looking to appear in the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time
since 1992 and 1993.
LA led 26-25 after the opening 12 minutes and carried a 44-42 lead into the
locker room. The Clippers led 66-65 heading into the fourth quarter as things
remained tight down the stretch.
“The season is over and it really hurts,” said Brand. “It burns. We now know
what we have to do next year. We have to play smarter.”
The Hornets finished 15-26 as the visitor this season…The Clippers ended
25-16 at the Staples Center….The Clippers and Hornets split four games this