Butlerís Threes Lift Hornets Past Warriors
New Orleans/Oklahoma City 86, Golden State 85
OAKLAND, Calif., March 29 (Ticker) -- Rasual Butler was dialed in from long distance when the New Orleans Hornets needed him most.
Butler scored 20 points, including three 3-pointers in the final 4 1/2 minutes, as the Hornets ended a prolonged slide with an 86-85 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
"Going on these losing streaks that we have been on, it seems like we forget what it feels like to win," Paul said. "We just have to focus a little more and pick up our intensity as a team."
"We were riding high and then the thing crashed on us a little bit," Butler said. "We've been fighting ever since and because we were working so hard to get these wins and coming up short, it was devastating. But ... we've still got a lot of fight left in us and we scratched and clawed our way to a victory tonight."
Butler gave the Hornets a 79-78 lead with a 3-pointer with 4:30 to play. Jason Richardson answered with a layup to put the Warriors back in front with 3:08 remaining.
After Hornets rookie forward Brandon Bass - recalled from the D-League earlier Wednesday - made 1-of-2 free throws with 2:44 left, Butler made another basket from the arc with 2:10 to play, giving the Hornets an 83-80 lead.
Bass, who grabbed six rebounds in nearly 12 minutes, was called off the bench to take the free throws after P.J. Brown turned his right ankle and had to leave the game.
"I thought (Bass) was going to go up there and at least make one," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "I thought he played really well tonight. There's a lot of things he still has to learn, but his energy and his effort were big for us."
Golden State's Mike Dunleavy sank 1-of-2 from the line with 1:49 to go before Butler buried his third 3-pointer with 1:27 to go for an 86-81 advantage.
"I'm just playing basketball," Butler said. "I've been blessed right now to step into a role with (Desmond Mason) being out and the coaching staff having great confidence in me to fill that role until he returns to this team. I'm just trying to take full advantage of it."
Trying to remain in the playoff hunt, the Warriors (30-40) rallied as Richardson sank two foul shots and Derek Fisher made a 15-foot runner, closing the gap to 86-85 with 36 seconds remaining.
Golden State had one final chance to win with 7.7 seconds to go. However, Butler blocked Richardson's shot in the low post and Fisher and Troy Murphy missed follow shots before Dunleavy hit a bank shot after time expired.
"We're all professional basketball players and we feel like we can get it done and we had a few good shots that just didn't want to go in," Dunleavy said. "I thought I had got it in, but then when nobody else was really reacting like it went in, I figured something must be wrong."
"I did get the look but they played good defense on me," Richardson said. "I knew (Butler) was there but I knew I had to get a shot off. He got a block on it, but we had two or three tries to put it in. We had a chance to win this game."
Former Warrior Marc Jackson scored 16 points and P.J. Brown added 12 for the Hornets, who limited Golden State to just 38 percent (30-of-79) from the floor.
"We played great defensively at the end of the game and it went our way," Jackson said. "We knew they were going to try to give it to Jason Richardson, we just kept them out and got the win."
"It was one of the best defensive games I've seen us play in a long time and hopefully now we understand what its going to take," Brown said. "If we play defense like this, we'll win our fair share of games down the stretch. No team you can take for granted."
Richardson and Dunleavy scored 19 points apiece and Fisher added 16 for the Warriors, who fell five games behind Sacramento with 12 games left. Golden State has not made the playoffs since 1994.
"The obvious thing is we get three shots at the end but we never should have been in that situation," Golden State coach Mike Montgomery said. "We should have had a lead early and been able to sustain and get away from them."