New Orleans/Oklahoma City 103, L.A. Clippers 100 (F-OT)

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 10 (AP)-- Going into overtime gave David West the chance to make up for his late-game gaffe. In the process, he put the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets right in the thick of the playoff race.

West scored a season-high 33 points, including three straight baskets in overtime, and the Hornets used a 103-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night to get within one game of the Western Conference's last playoff spot.

"We're just going to keep fighting,'' said West, who was one point shy of tying his career high. "As long as we've got a heartbeat, we're going to keep going.''

West put back a missed 3-pointer by Devin Brown to put the Hornets up 96-93 and then added a jumper and another putback to give New Orleans/Oklahoma City a seven-point lead.

The overtime surge helped make up for a late-game lapse for West, who went for a steal and was beaten for a game-tying dunk by Elton Brand with 9.5 seconds left in regulation.

With the help of missed free throws by Chris Paul and West, the Clippers had one last chance to tie it. Brown intercepted a long inbounds pass by Corey Maggette to seal the win and prompt streamers to fall from the ceiling.

"We don't make anything easy, but we make it exciting,'' said Hornets coach Byron Scott, whose team is an NBA-best 7-0 in overtime this season. With the Clippers' loss, Toronto (3-0) is the only other team with a perfect overtime record.

Brown scored 25 points to equal his career best, and Paul added 17 points and 10 assists for New Orleans/Oklahoma City. The Hornets moved within one game of Golden State for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

The Clippers are in ninth place, a half game behind the Warriors and the same margin ahead of the Hornets. New Orleans/Oklahoma City closes its season at the Clippers on April 18.

"Bottom line is, mathematically, we can still control our destiny if we win out,'' Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We had a hiccup here in the road and we have to bounce back.''

Brand tied his season high with 37 points, Maggette had 24 points and Chris Kaman added 10 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles, which has lost three straight.

"We're up against the world right now,'' Brand said. "Two days ago, it was like, `OK, you guys are in. Now who are you going to play?' Now, it's, `How are you guys gonna get in?' We've just got to dig deep, play harder in the third and fourth quarters.''

It was the second time in three games the Clippers gave up a double-digit lead. They led by 15 in the second quarter of a 96-93 loss to Denver on Saturday.

Brown gave the Hornets an 89-85 lead with 1:22 left in regulation when he stole the ball and raced downcourt for a right-handed jam.

Brand responded with a jumper from the left side, and Paul missed a jumper that appeared to nick the bottom of the rim before the Hornets were called for a shot clock violation. Brand missed a jumper for the tie, but the Clippers got another chance when Cuttino Mobley knocked an inbounds pass to Jason Hart in a scrum on the floor near midcourt.

That's when Brand whirled past West, who was going for a steal, and went in for the dunk.

"I saw something and thought I was going to be able to get my hand on the ball, and he saw it coming and made his move,'' West said. "I wanted to respond. We really had been going at one another all night. I just wanted to respond at the other end.''

Paul hit two foul shots for New Orleans/Oklahoma City, but Brand answered with a jumper from the left side with one second left to send it to overtime. West couldn't get a shot off before the regulation buzzer, but more than made up for it in the extra period.

"We're just playing with a lot of heart, playing with a lot of effort. That's the biggest thing - just playing hard,'' West said. "Sometimes when you really play harder than the other team, you're able to make up for some of the mistakes that you make and we were able to do that.''

Notes: NBA commissioner David Stern will attend the Hornets' final regular-season game in Oklahoma City on Friday, a league spokeswoman said. It's the first time he will attend a game in Oklahoma City since the team's second game at the Ford Center on Nov. 9, 2005. ... F Tim Thomas, a game-time decision after missing the Clippers' last game with a sprained left wrist, went 3-for-10 and scored seven points. ... New Orleans/Oklahoma City didn't commit a turnover in the first quarter. The Clippers had none in the second quarter. ... Attendance was 17,704 for the next-to-last regular-season game in Oklahoma City. The previous Clippers game drew 15,501, the smallest Oklahoma City crowd this season.

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