West Lifts Hornets Past Wizards at Buzzer
New Orleans/Oklahoma City 97, Washington 96
OKLAHOMA CITY, Feb. 13 (Ticker) -- David West had just enough time to punctuate a second-half comeback for the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.
West sank the game-winning jumper as time expired, lifting the Hornets to a dramatic 97-96 victory over the Washington Wizards, who wasted a huge effort by Gilbert Arenas.
On Monday, West gave the the Hornets their fourth straight win by sinking his shot from just inside the 3-point line.
After trailing by 17 points at intermission and by as many as 19 in the second half, the Hornets battled back with 35-point third quarter to pull within 74-71 entering the final period.
"We didn't allow ourselves to get down," West said. "We kept up the effort, started getting stops, hit a lot of big shots in the third quarter, and we made it a basketball game going into the fourth quarter.
"Coach (Byron Scott) told us 'you've come from this far back, you might as well win the game.' Arenas is the best guy we've played against all year and when he's playing that good, we have to play that much better."
Aaron Williams made a jumper with 6:17 left to give the Hornets an 85-84 lead, their first since early in the contest.
It still was tight when Arenas, who scored 43 points, hit a jumper with 1:16 remaining to pull the Wizards within 95-94. The point guard made 15-of-30 shots and went 12-of-13 at the free-throw line.
After Arenas missed a potential go-ahead jumper, a scramble for the rebound ensued and Antawn Jamison hit a baseline jumper with five-tenths of second left to seemingly give the Wizards the win before West, who made 7-of-14 shots, spoiled things.
"The game shouldn't have come down to it," said Jamison of the late game heroics. "We played bad in the fourth quarter, but I thought we held on and did a great job of finding a way to win, but they did a greater job."
Jamison added 20 points and 10 boards for the Wizards, who had a five-game winning streak snapped.
"I told David he makes me look good," Scott said. "The play was designed for Kirk Snyder, but I thought David should be able to step back and get open. He stepped back and knocked it down like he's done so many times this season."
Snyder scored 17 points and Speedy Claxton collected 16 and 10 assists for the Hornets, who placed all five starters in double figures.
"I was shocked," said Arenas, who topped the 40-point mark for the seventh time this season. "You don't except to lose a game with five-tenths of a second left but, obviously it happened. It doesn't emotionally drain us, your going to win tough games and lose some tough games."
The Wizards held a 30-18 lead after the first quarter, then ended the opening half on a 25-6 surge to build a 53-36 advantage.
"This is a tough one to lose," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win even though we played bad in the second half, you just can't give up 60 points in the paint and expect to win."