NEW ORLEANS, April 27 (Ticker) -- Baron Davis may be hurting, but his team is healthy again.

Davis had 23 points and 10 assists and sparked a fourth-quarter surge as the New Orleans Hornets drew even in their first-round series with a 96-85 victory over the Miami Heat.

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The home team has won the first four games of the Eastern Conference series. Game 5 is Friday at Miami.

"It was very important because without the win you have to beat them twice on their home floor," Hornets coach Tim Floyd said. "They've been very good at home. They won their last 11 regular season games there."

An All-Star point guard, Davis made just 15-of-49 shots through the first three games while nursing ankle, elbow, and back injuries. He seems to wince in pain whenever he is involved in contact with another player or the floor.

Baron Davis and the Hornets will be looking to take a series lead in Game 5 Friday.
Layne MurdochNBAE/Getty Images
"I'm ready to go lie down and sleep for awhile," said Davis, who was visibly limping minutes after the game. "It's just a matter of the adrenaline gets going when you're out there. Toward the end of the game, when I knew we were going to win, that was when all the aches and pains came back."

Despite a strong start by Davis, the fifth-seeded Hornets trailed, 71-68, entering the fourth quarter. That's when Davis took charge, making shots, setting up teammates for easy baskets and spearheading a defense that allowed just 14 points.

"We fed off the crowd a lot, especially when they made their run and went up three," Davis said. "We got back in the ballgame and the crowd was behind us. We just kept plugging away. You have to give them a lot of credit because they play very, very hard and they give themselves a chance at the end of every ballgame by sticking to their offensive and defensive execution."

Davis opened the final period with a 3-pointer, triggering a 14-4 run that gave the Hornets the lead for good. After a three-point play by Lamar Odom cut the deficit to 82-78, Davis backed down Dwyane Wade and made a lane jumper with 3:42 left.

"They just kept us at bay," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They hit huge shots at the end of the shot clock. A lot of times that's what it comes down to against good defense. They hit several huge shots and we were not able to. We were not able to make the big shots that they made."

The Hornets got a big boost from rookie David West, who scored eight of his 10 points in the final period. He had a layup off a beautiful pass from a driving Davis with 53 seconds to go, giving New Orleans an 88-82 lead.

"They weren't worried about me," West said. "He (Davis) had the ball in his hands and everybody was coming up the lane. There's a soft spot on the baseline. That's my spot. I try to exploit that spot whenever he has the ball in his hands."

The fourth-seeded Heat struggled in the fourth quarter, going 5-for-20 from the floor, while the Hornets connected on 9-of-20 shots.

"That's a great defensive team over there. They play well when it counts," Miami forward Odom said. "I'm not goint to take anything away from them, and I'm not going to give then extra credit. We're in the playoffs. But they played good defense in the fourth quarter. They made more plays than us."

Odom scored 25 points and collected eight rebounds. Eddie Jones added 16 points for the visitors, who made just 5-of-22 3-pointers.

Stacey Augmon came off the bench to score 17 points and David Wesley and Jamaal Magloire added 12 apiece for the Hornets, who never have won a best-of-seven series.

"We have a lot of confidence and we know we can go into Miami and win Game 5," said Davis. "We know what it takes to win on the road, and Game 5 is going to be very physical, probably the most physical game of this series so far."

Davis had 15 points and six assists in the first half as New Orleans grabbed a 50-44 advantage. The Hornets opened their largest lead at 60-49 on a 3-pointer by George Lynch with 7:48 left in the third quarter.

The Heat stormed back behind Odom, who scored 10 points in a 22-6 run. His short hook shot made it 71-66 before the Hornets got two free throws from Darrell Armstong to close the period.