Mashburn and Brown combined for 16 points in the fourth quarter to help the Hornets pull away.
New Orleans won for the 10th time in 12 games. The Hornets have
won 10 straight against the Heat, dating back to the 2000-2001 playoffs.
Mashburn and Brown helped Miami make annual playoff appearances before being traded to the Hornets after the 1999-2000 season. The trade didn't look too good for Miami on Friday as the two players combined for 41 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists and carried the Hornets down the stretch.
``They are great players,'' said Heat coach Pat Riley, who pulled the trigger on the trade following three straight playoff losses to the Knicks. ``It's been 10 (losses) in a row now.
``There's no doubt that they wanted to prove a point to me, and they've done it. I don't need any more. They're playing for something more significant now. Both of those guys stepped up when they had to step up.''
Hornets guard Baron Davis, who returned this week following knee
surgery, didn't dress because of what the team described as ``rehabilitative purposes.'' Davis, who missed 20 games after injuring his left knee, scored 20 points in his first game back on Tuesday and followed that with a 16-point effort against Boston on Wednesday.
New Orleans plays the second of back-to-back games against
Orlando on Saturday, and Hornets coach Paul Silas said he didn't
want to push Davis too hard too soon.
``We'll have 'B.D.' ready tomorrow,'' Silas said. ``He should give us a lift. Hopefully we can go win that one, too, and make this a great road trip.''
Mashburn has been at his best against the Heat this season,
averaging 22.6 points, 13.6 rebounds and eight assists in the three
previous games. That trend appeared in jeopardy, though, as he
struggled in the first half by shooting just 2-of-9.
Mashburn picked up his game in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points including three consecutive baskets in the final four minutes.
``They were single-covering me tonight,'' said Mashburn, who
worked mostly against Heat rookie Caron Butler. ``In the other
three games, they doubled me. He (Riley) tried something new
tonight, and the shots fell. We needed buckets, and we kept going
to that post-up play. When I'm down there, I can make things happen.''
Brown added 14 rebounds and enough offense to prevent Mashburn
from carrying the entire load.
``I was just trying to give the team a lift,'' Brown said. ``We
needed this one in the worst way. Every game is crucial, and we
were fortunate to get the win.''
After trailing 48-40 at halftime, the Hornets rallied in the
third quarter and led 63-62 on Mashburn's 3-pointer.
The lead changed hands seven times in the fourth quarter.
Mashburn's jumper snapped a 77-all tie, and he knocked down shots
on the Hornets' next two possessions to extend the lead to 83-77.
Travis Best hit two foul shots to pull Miami to 85-83 with seven
seconds left, but Mashburn converted two free throws at the other
end with four seconds to go.
The Hornets have outrebounded their opponents in 20
straight games. ... The Hornets are 6-1 in their last seven road
games. ... Jamaal Magloire scored 11 points and had 11 rebounds for
New Orleans. ...Riley, apparently fed up with a second straight
season out of the playoffs, said he prefers an older roster for
next season. ``We'll have the four or five young guys that we
really like, but we'll mix it with proven, experienced veterans and
try to get into playoff contention. I want to get back there as
quick as we can. We don't want to go through this again.'' ...
Rookie Rasual Butler made his 13th start of the season for the
Heat. ... Miami has lost five straight at home.