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New Orleans 93, Philadelphia 91
Hornets Find a Way To Force Game 6

Jamal Mashburn scored a team-high 21 points in the Game 5 win.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

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PHILADELPHIA, April 30 (Ticker) -- Thanks to Jamal Mashburn and George Lynch, the New Orleans Hornets are still hanging on by a finger in the NBA playoffs.

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Mashburn returned from a finger injury to score 21 points and Lynch victimized his former team with 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Hornets stayed alive with a 93-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

For the first time in four tries, the fifth-seeded Hornets won a Game 5 when facing a 3-1 deficit. They will host Game Six on Friday night.

Mashburn suffered a chip fracture and dislocation of the middle finger on his right hand in a Game 2 loss here and sat out Games 3 and Four in New Orleans. He took some criticism for not playing, although he claimed to be unable to comfortably hold the ball.

The All-Star forward did not seem bothered by the injury as he made five of his first six shots, giving the Hornets a psychological boost. He endured a cold spell but finished 8-of-20 from the field, adding six assists.

"It is still hurting," Mashburn said. "Just because I've been out for five or six days doesn't mean it is still not broken. ... I told the guys I didn't want to go home, and that was pretty much the bottom line -- that I didn't want to go home."

"There's no way we could have won the game without him," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "This thing is killing him. It's really sore. He knew just his presence would help us."

Mashburn made just one basket in the fourth quarter, which belonged to Lynch. A starting forward on the 76ers squad that reached the 2001 NBA Finals, he was sent to the Hornets in a three-team deal prior to the following season.

"It was about time," said Lynch, who made 7-of-9 shots. "It took me five games. I was rushing my shot in the first four. Tonight, I had the opportunity to come off the bench after watching the flow of the game. We were able to keep the game close, which helped us. None of the shots that I made were rushed shots. They were in the flow of the offense. We want to win this series, but I really want to win this series. It would be against my old teammates, and that would be sweet."

Known more for his rebounding and defense, Lynch hurt the Sixers from both outside and inside. He had a pair of 3-pointers and a corner jumper in a 12-2 run that opened the period and gave the Hornets an 83-76 lead with 4:48 to go.

"We do a lot of shooting and we chart our shots," Lynch said. "I've been able to shoot around 50 percent from 3-point range in practice. I've made a number of them." "I'm probably the only coach in history who will let him shoot the three," Silas said.

Lynch put home follow shots on consecutive possessions in the final two minutes, giving New Orleans the lead each time.

Jamaal Magloire had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Hornets, who became the first team in the series to win after trailing at halftime. They won despite a bad game from Baron Davis, who made just 3-of-17 shots and was held to nine points.

Allen Iverson scored 30 points and Keith Van Horn ended a series-long slump with 21 for the Sixers. But both players wasted chances in the final seconds to provide a tie or lead.

"The opportunity was there, but we didn't get it done," Iverson said.

After missing nine of its first 10 shots of the fourth quarter, Philadelphia fought back to tie it. Iverson made a layup, Derrick Coleman blocked a breakaway layup by Davis and hit a jumper at the other end and Iverson drilled a tying 3-pointer with 2:41 to play.

Mashburn and Iverson traded baskets before Lynch put home a miss by Mashburn for an 87-85 lead with 1:40 left. Coleman stroked a long tying jumper, but Lynch again put back a miss by Mashburn to give New Orleans the lead for good at the 1:02 mark.

"He really made us pay for helping off of him," Van Horn said. "He really stepped up and hit some big shots and got those two key rebounds."

Iverson lost the ball, and Mashburn drew a foul with 23 seconds left. Bothered by the finger injury, he split the pair of free throws.

"The finger doesn't allow me to follow through as I normally do," Mashburn said.

Iverson missed an open 3-pointer but made a layup after Eric Snow ran down the rebound and called timeout. That cut the deficit to 90-89 with 14 seconds remaining, and the Sixers fouled Mashburn, who again went 1-of-2 from the line.

Van Horn tried to make a move but had the ball stripped by Lynch. Davis recovered it and made the clinching free throws with 3.8 seconds to play.

P.J. Brown scored 11 points and David Wesley added 10 for the Hornets, who shot just 41 percent (34-of-83) and missed 10 free throws but took better care of the ball as they committed just 10 turnovers.

"We only had 10 turnovers tonight. In games we lost, we had 20-plus turnovers," Silas said. "We protected the ball and didn't turn it over very much. They had 16, which is unlike them. We have to continue to take care of the basketball if we're going to win this thing."

Kenny Thomas had 12 points and 14 rebounds and Snow added 11, eight and seven assists for the Sixers, who shot 42.5 percent (31-of-73) and held a 43-39 edge on the glass. But Philadelphia committed 16 turnovers, six by Iverson.

New Orleans went 6 1/2 minutes without a basket across halftime. A 3-pointer by Van Horn and three-point play by Iverson gave Philadelphia its largest lead at 60-50 with 9:14 left in the third quarter, but Mashburn and Wesley had 3-pointers in a 15-4 spurt that reclaimed the lead for the Hornets.

"Instead of taking advantage of being at home, we let them crawl back in and make it a close game," Van Horn said. "It came down to the wire, and when you're at home, you don't want to let that happen."