NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 6 (Ticker) -- The Big Easy got a little more difficult for the Hornets, but some clutch free throw shooting in overtime helped them remain undefeated in their new home.

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David Wesley hit a key 3-pointer and Jamaal Magloire and Jamal Mashburn made crucial foul shots as New Orleans edged the Houston Rockets, 98-96.

Wesley made the Hornets' only basket of overtime with 3:02 left for an 89-87 lead. Magloire went on to drain five free throws and Mashburn four as New Orleans went 11-of-14 from the line in the extra period.

Mashburn scored 25 points and Magloire finished with 16 and a career-high 17 rebounds as the Charlotte transplants improved to 11-0 at home in 3-1 in overtime this season.

"I can't say enough about 'Cat' (Magloire)," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "He just took over at the end. Every rebound was his, the weakside half, the free throws he made ... just huge."

Kenny Thomas had a season-high 29 points and 10 rebounds, Steve Francis scored 24 points and rookie Yao Ming had 16 and 13 rebounds for Houston.

"We played hard, but we didn't play well," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "We didn't make plays. They are a good rebounding team and we beat them on the boards and did a pretty good job, but we couldn't make plays. I don't know."

New Orleans led virtually the entire second half until Francis' lay-in with 2:30 remaining in regulation forged an 80-80 tie.

P.J. Brown hit a free throw and Mashburn followed with a difficult fallaway for an 83-80 advantage. Francis and Magloire each hit a free throw before Yao's follow shot with 26 seconds left forced overtime.

"I thought the difference was our energy," Magloire said. "We were a lot more consistent. We played hard for longer period of time and we were focused."

New Orleans led, 95-90, with 16 seconds to go in overtime when former Hornet Glen Rice sank three free throws. Mashburn hit a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left and Baron Davis made another to ice the victory.

Brown finished with nine points and 10 rebounds and Davis had 14 and nine assists for New Orleans, which shot 44 percent (35-of-79) but missed 15-of-18 3-pointers.

"It was like a heavyweight fight, neither side would go down or give up," Brown said. "They just kept coming at us. It was another great night at home with an overtime win."

Yao, who averages less than six shots a game, had eight points in the first quarter on 4-of-10 shooting. He sat the entire second quarter and was held in check by veteran center Elden Campbell in the second half.

"He's very big, he's long," Magliore said. "He's going to be good."

"I think that one of my problems was before the game I made them out to be a big, physical team that was going to push me around a lot," Yao said through an interpreter. "So when they came at me defensively, I might have had a bit of a mental block."

Houston held a 46-44 lead at halftime, largely due to Thomas' play in the second quarter. The veteran forward scored 16 points in the quarter, including the Rockets' final eight points of the half.

"I just come out and try to play the game of basketball, which is my job," Thomas said.

New Orleans stormed back with 68 percent ( 13-for-19) shooting in the third quarter, scoring 15 of the first 21 points to take a 59-52 advantage on Davis' layup with 7:19 remaining.