New Orleans/Oklahoma City 103, New York 94 (F-OT)

OKLAHOMA CITY, March 31 (AP)-- After spending much of the game fighting back from behind, the New York Knicks couldn't counter-punch in overtime.

David West scored 20 points and the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets held New York to one field goal in overtime for a 103-94 win Saturday night in a meeting of teams desperately trying to make up ground in the playoff race.

"Usually the team that lands the first blow in overtime is the team that's going to get the momentum and get the win,'' West said. "That's usually how it goes. That's what we wanted. We wanted to come out and be the aggressor.''

Chris Paul scored seven of his 16 points in the extra period, when the Knicks went 1-for-8 from the field.

Desmond Mason's runner in the lane gave New Orleans/Oklahoma City the lead at the outset of overtime, and Paul added a 3-pointer from the left wing that put the Hornets ahead 97-92. Paul added a jumper and then set up Mason's right-handed jam before hitting two free throws to provide the final margin.

New York's only basket in overtime was a layup by Eddy Curry. It was the second time this season New Orleans/Oklahoma City held an opponent to one overtime field goal. Orlando had only a 3-pointer in an 84-78 loss in Oklahoma City on Jan. 16.

"We ran out of steam,'' said Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, who said officials failed to call fouls on drives to the basket by Stephon Marbury a night after he scored a season-high 43 points in a two-point loss to Dallas, the NBA's top team.

Curry and Marbury led New York back from an 11-point deficit in the final 4 minutes of regulation, and Nate Robinson hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 10 seconds remaining to force overtime.

"I think there is a point that seriously needs to be made how Marbury is being treated by the officials now. ... I see a lot of players drive to the basket and get fouled and go to the foul line, and I don't understand what he's done to receive the type of treatment he's getting and the lack of respect he is getting from the officials,'' Thomas said.

"That's not why we lost the game. We did a lot of things wrong to lose the game.''

In overtime, the Knicks couldn't contain Paul, who played with three of his fingers on his left hand taped up. After his wide-open 3-pointer, Thomas called a timeout and put his hands on both of Robinson's shoulders for a talk.

The Knicks lost for the sixth time in seven games, and they fell three games behind New Jersey for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Nets beat Philadelphia on Saturday.

"We've just got to keep pushing. We can't let this kill us,'' said Curry, who scored 34 points for his highest output since he had a season-high 36 against Milwaukee on Dec. 9. He also had 13 rebounds.

Marbury scored 16, while Robinson and Mardy Collins each added 14 points. Collins' total was a career high.

The Hornets, who have won the past five meetings with New York, entered Saturday trailing the Los Angeles Clippers by three games in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"We better grow up quick with nine games left to have a chance to get into the playoffs,'' Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "It is amazing to me that we make the same mistakes over and over again. I told our coaches that we are going to win the game in spite of ourselves.

"We are the reason it went into overtime, and it never should have gotten there.''

Mason finished with 19 points, and Tyson Chandler had 13 points and 13 rebounds for his 33rd double double.

Bobby Jackson, who returned after missing the past five games with a strained right Achilles, fueled an 11-0 run for the Hornets after New York had cut a 15-point deficit to 74-72 in the final period.

The Knicks had one last surge.

Curry and Marbury combined to score nine straight points, and Robinson beat the shot clock buzzer with a 3-pointer from the right wing to put the Knicks up 89-88 and finish a 12-0 run.

Mason hit two free throws to put New Orleans/Oklahoma City back ahead with 40.9 seconds left, and Paul added two more after Marbury was stripped by Jannero Pargo on the Knicks' next possession.

Robinson responded with another 3 to force overtime.

Notes: Willis Reed, the NBA Finals MVP for the Knicks in their only championships in 1970 and 1973, was presented with an all-terrain vehicle at halftime by New Orleans/Oklahoma City owner George Shinn. Now the Hornets' vice president of operations, Reed is retiring in June. ... Thomas said Paul compares favorably with a certain Hall of Famer and 12-time All-Star. "I think he's a little better than what I was. He seems to get the basketball, and he's at your foul line and he's standing there bouncing the basketball,'' Thomas said. "He moves just like a hummingbird.'' ... Scott said the Hornets hope to re-sign G Devin Brown.

Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited