Mashburn was held scoreless in the fourth quarter before he spun
left and leaned in for a double-pump jumper while being fouled by
Billups with 21 seconds left. The basket and ensuing free throw put
New Orleans ahead for good in a 93-89 victory over Detroit on
Billups also was guarding Mashburn when he hit a turnaround
jumper to give the Hornets a victory at Detroit in February.
''It was how we played it at Detroit, I just turned the other
way,'' Mashburn said. ''I figured he was going to reach for it so I
had to double pump and I got the roll.''
Billups, who said he had played Mashburn as well as possible on
the first winner, echoed those statements Friday.
''He made a tough shot again,'' Billups said.
Mashburn finished with a team-high 20 points along with eight
assists and eight rebounds.
Jamaal Magloire had 19 points and 18 rebounds, including a
thunderous one-handed jam to follow a missed shot that gave New
Orleans an 86-85 lead with 1:42 left.
George Lynch added 15 points and nine rebounds, including a big
defensive rebound in the final minute and another on the offensive
end after he missed a free throw with Detroit trailing by only two.
The last rebound all but sealed the game and disgusted Detroit
coach Rick Carlisle.
''When you fight this hard it really hurts. To be that close and
not be able to get a rebound is just a terrible feeling,'' Carlisle
said. ''We made some terrible mistakes during the game, but we kept
plugging away and gave ourselves a chance. Some unfortunate bounces
just cost us.''
The victory gave New Orleans a split of its four games with
Detroit, which now has lost five out of six games. However, Detroit
remained tied for the top spot in the Eastern Conference because
New Jersey also lost. The Hornets are two games ahead of Boston for
the fifth seed in the East with three games left.
Detroit's defeat spoiled a dominating inside performance by
reserve Corliss Williamson. He had 21 points, including 13 in the
Billups and Richard Hamilton each scored 16 for Detroit, while
Cliff Robinson added 11.
The lead changed hands seven times in the final three minutes.
Detroit had taken a 83-80 lead on back-to-back 3s by Robinson
and Jon Barry.
Magloire gave New Orleans an 84-83 lead with a pair of free
throws, but Williamson tipped in his own miss on the other end to
make it 85-84, before Magloire's dunk.
Detroit, which was outrebounded by New Orleans 45-39, got two
big offensive rebounds -- one by Williamson -- before Mehmet Okur was
fouled and hit both free throws.
Lynch put New Orleans ahead once more when he sprinted under the
basket to catch an apparent airball by Kenny Anderson and put in a
reverse layup. But Williamson scored once more before Mashburn's
Anderson, who had sat out the previous game with a strained
Achilles' tendon, scored five of his nine points in the fourth
quarter. Courtney Alexander added 10 off the bench for the Hornets.
New Orleans led from late in the first quarter until midway
through the third, when Billups scored seven consecutive points to
give Detroit a 57-56 lead. He hit a 3-pointer, a free throw and
then sank a circus shot while being fouled and falling over the
baseline before adding the ensuing free throw.
Detroit's shot-blocking and rebounding extraordinaire,
forward Ben Wallace, missed his third consecutive game because of a
left knee sprain he's had since Sunday. Pistons officials have said
he might miss Detroit's three remaining regular-season games. ...
Hornets starters Baron Davis (strained left knee) and P.J. Brown
(sprained right ankle) each missed their third game in a row. Coach
Paul Silas said he hopes to have both players back when the Hornets
play in Philadelphia on Sunday. ... Magloire's double-double was
his fourth in as many games. ... The paid attendance of 17,394
marked the Hornets 12th sellout in their first season in New
Orleans. They have one home game left.