Tyson Chandler's first two games since his return from injury couldn't have gone better from an individual and team standpoint. So what would he come up with in his third? How about a game-winning tip-in?
Chandler, who registered double-doubles earlier this week in victories over Sacramento and Detroit, tapped in a David West short-range miss with 3.3 seconds remaining tonight, giving New Orleans (35-22) its third straight victory.
I was planning on grabbing (the rebound), but I had the opportunity to tip it back up, said Chandler, who wasnt sure if this was his first career game-winning shot in the NBA. I knew David would get a clean look, so I was just thinking if he misses it, to make sure I gave my team the opportunity to win.
For most of Friday night, it seemed far-fetched that the Hornets would require last-second heroics from anyone. New Orleans appeared to be in complete control, leading by 15 at halftime and 14 through three quarters. Milwaukee (28-33) suddenly turned hot from the perimeter, though, drilling three seven-pointers in the final 5:50 of the game.
When Charlie Bell sank his fifth trey of the night, from the left corner with 10 seconds remaining, the Bucks had erased what was as big as a 21-point deficit.
After the game, the majority of Byron Scotts press conference was devoted to the fourth quarter, with the fifth-year head coach upset with how the Hornets nearly coughed up a huge lead. Had Chandlers tip not dropped in, this probably wouldve been the most gut-wrenching loss of New Orleans season.
I thought we were looking at the clock and waiting for it to run down (in the fourth quarter), Scott said. Thats not how we have to approach games like this. Milwaukee stayed aggressive, and at both ends of the floor, we were pretty passive.
Scott was asked by a NOLA reporter what he emphasized while talking to his players after the game. Scott quipped, Well, my first words to them were my initials, so thats not good. I wasnt pleased with the way we ended the game. I thought CP walked (the ball) up (the court), I thought everyone walked it up, and we didnt attack. We just settled. We were looking at the scoreboard and just hoping the clock would run out.
A reporter later asked Chandler to give the PG version of Byron Scotts postgame talk with his team.
Thats kind of hard, because maybe about two words out of 50 (werent profane), Chandler said. He wasnt too happy. But hes right. In situations like this, weve got to finish out games, if we want to be a championship team.
HORNETS POSTGAME QUOTES
I was not happy after the game. I am happy with the W (win), but I am not happy with the way we played our last few minutes. We were always taught that if your foot is on their throat, push it. Dont let it up. They stayed aggressive and pushed some shots. We were pretty passive. Once a team like that gets rolling, it is hard to shut the water off. They never quit, they just kept fighting.
On Tyson Chandler:
I am glad I didnt listen to my assistants. They wanted to take Tyson out and put Posey in to have another shooter. I wanted Tyson on the board, and he was right there to tip it in.
On the game: You never want to blow a lead like that. You kind of want to close out the game. You want to continue to be aggressive. I thought we kind of layed back, and that was why they were able to come back in the game. But we got a W, and Id rather be happy in the locker room with a W then sad about a loss.
On the end of the game: A win is a win, but we know better. Weve got to learn to close out games. Its a great win for us, but we should know better.
On the end of the game: We put ourselves in that situation. We were playing the game not to lose, and made it closer than it was. We were in the bonus since the nine minute mark, we stopped playing defense, and that gave those guys confidence. They made big plays down the stretch, and they made shots to get them back in the game.