NBA Game Summary - New Orleans/Oklahoma City at Minnesota
(Saturday, April 7th)
Final Score: New Orleans/Oklahoma City 96, Minnesota 94
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Chris Paul finished with 18 points and 10 assists as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets edged the Minnesota Timberwolves, 96-94, at the Target Center.
Marc Jackson added 15 points and 11 rebounds and Rasual Butler donated 17 points but shot just 5-of-19 for the Hornets, who have won four of their last five games. David West chipped in with 15 points and nine boards for New Orleans/Oklahoma City, which is two games behind the L.A. Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Rashad McCants scored 17 points and Mike James 15 for Minnesota, which had won two of three coming in. Kevin Garnett shot just 5-of-14 for 13 points but did pull down 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who are four games behind the Hornets.
"I thought we started the first half pretty well," said Garnett. "Late in the second half I don't know, we diverted like we always do. It's the same old, same old. They made a run in the second half. We pushed back but it wasn't enough."
It seemed neither team wanted to win in the final quarter. The Hornets shot 4- of-21 and Minnesota went 5-for-20. Ricky Davis' three with 3:14 to go pulled the Timberwolves within one, 86-85, but the Hornets had an answer. Butler drilled a triple and West hit a jumper, putting New Orleans/Oklahoma City ahead, 91-85, with 38 ticks left.
Minnesota then scored eight quick points, capped by a Garnett trey with 1.8 seconds remaining to cut the margin to one, 95-94. Paul then made the second of two free throws and Craig Smith's desperation three at the buzzer from just inside the halfcourt line bounced off the side of the rim.
"We'll take it any way we can get it," said Butler. "We really needed the win. We are still in the playoff hunt."
The Timberwolves led 57-51 at the break.
Paul took over in the third quarter, scoring 10 straight points as the two teams exchanged buckets. The Hornets closed the frame with a 12-3 run, capped by a Jackson driving layup which gave New Orleans/Oklahoma City an 80-75 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Paul returned after he missed Friday night's loss against Phoenix with a sore left foot...The Hornets won the season series 3-1 and have won five of the last seven overall against the Timberwolves...Davis finished with 11 points for Minnesota.
04/08 01:18:16 ET