EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Baron Davis scored 19 points and
New Orleans Hornets limited New Jersey to 11 fourth-quarter points
in keeping the Nets from clinching a second straight Atlantic
Division title with an 87-74 victory Monday night.
New Jersey's loss, coupled with Detroit's victory over
Cleveland, gave the Pistons the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Jamal Mashburn added 17 points and P.J. Brown had 14 as the
Hornets won their fourth straight and kept alive their hopes of
gaining homecourt advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
New Orleans (46-35) is a half-game behind Indiana (46-34) and
could catch Philadelphia (47-33) if the Sixers lose both of their
remaining games and the Hornets defeat Atlanta in their
regular-seaosn finale Wednesday.
Kenyon Martin had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Nets, who
can win the division with a win at Indiana on Wednesday or a loss
by the 76ers in one of their final two games. Richard Jefferson
added 21 points and Jason Kidd had 14.
The Hornets never trailed after George Lynch hit a 3-pointer
late in the third quarter to snap a 66-66 tie.
A jumper by Lucious Harris got New Jersey within a point in the
opening seconds of the final quarter, but the Hornets went on a
12-4 run to take an 81-69 lead.
Davis started the spurt with a layup, hit an off-balance shot in
the middle of the run and basically put the game out of reach with
an offensive rebound and a 3-pointer.
New Jersey was 4-for-13 from the field in the quarter and turned
the ball over seven times. Davis had nine points in the quarter.
The game was played in spurts for most of the final three
The Hornets used a 15-2 spurt spanning the end of the second
quarter and the start of the third to take a 49-38 lead, a run that
forced Nets coach Byron Scott to take a timeout.
While his teammates sat on the bench, Martin clapped his hands
and screamed ``right now,'' attempting to remind the Nets that the
division title and the No. 1 seed were on the line.
The little speech seemed to work as New Jersey came out and
scored 13 straight points to take a 51-49 lead with 7:14 left in
New Orleans came right back with an 11-3 spurt that featured
three free throws by Davis and an assist on a fast-break dunk by
Brown, who also had four points in the run that put the Hornets
New Jersey tied the game at 66 on a steal and slam by Martin
before Lynch hit his 3-pointer to put the Hornets ahead for good.
Nets backup C Dikembe Mutombo missed the game for personal
reasons. ... Jamaal Magloire's streak of five straight
double-doubles ended with a foul-plagued four points and six
rebounds. ... Kidd got fooled by the scoreboard in the second
quarter. The board had the Nets for only three team fouls with 3:14
to go, and he gave a foul when David Wesley started getting a step
on him. The board was wrong and Wesley got two free throws, leaving
Kidd shaking his head. ....Martin was hit with a flagrant foul for
pushing Lynch on a rebound.