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New Orleans wins third in a row

11/19/2003

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New Orleans Hornets are already
starting to believe they can make a run at the Eastern Conference
title.

The same can't be said for the two-time defending champion New
Jersey Nets.

Baron Davis had 25 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds, and
David Wesley hit two late 3-pointers to lead the Hornets to an
88-85 victory Tuesday night.

"Everybody's going at them, the two-time Eastern Conference
champions," Wesley said. "Everybody measures against them to see
how they're doing. I think we're doing fine."

George Lynch added a season-high 17 rebounds for the Hornets,
who have won three straight in improving to 8-3 under new coach Tim
Floyd.

Davis and Wesley scored the Hornets' final nine points, with
Wesley sandwiching two 3-pointers around a 3-point play by Davis.

Wesley's first 3-pointer gave New Orleans the lead, and his
second provided the winning points.

"We've been doing that all season in forcing the tempo and
forcing the issue," Davis said. "When we outplay opposing guards,
we usually win, and that's what happened tonight."

The big play for the Hornets was Wesley's final 3-pointer, which
gave New Orleans an 88-83 lead with 2:10 to go.

The shot came just seconds after Richard Jefferson hit a floater
to get New Jersey to 85-83.

Wesley provided a screen for Davis, and the Nets tried to
double-team Davis.

"When I came off the weak side, I knew I was wide open," said
Wesley, who was 3-for-5 from long range. "I was naked. I just had
to get myself together and knock the shot down. It would be sad to
let that shot go to waste."

New Orleans guard Darrell Armstrong helped make it interesting
at the end by missing two free throws with 14 seconds to go, but
Kerry Kittles and Jefferson missed game-tying 3-point attempts for
the Nets, who made only one of their last 13 shots.

"We can't play this way and expect to win a championship,"
center Alonzo Mourning said after the Nets lost for the fourth time
in six home games. "That goes without saying. If we play this way,
we can't expect to come out of the East."

Jefferson had 16 points and Kittles 14 in a game that New Jersey
will remember for the contributions from its reserves. Brian
Scalabrine had 14 points, Brandon Armstrong added 10 and Zoran
Planinic nine. Mourning provided a late defensive presence in the
middle, making two big blocks to keep the Nets ahead.

Scalabrine put the Nets up 81-79 with two free throws with 6:53
to play.

After each team failed on three consecutive possessions, Wesley
hit the first of his big 3-pointers from the left wing to give the
Hornets an 82-81 lead with 5:01 to go. The Hornets never trailed
again.

Game notes
Nets G Jason Kidd had a rare triple-single: six points,
seven assists and nine rebounds. ... The Nets activated F Rodney
Rogers (lacerated thumb) from the injured list before the game and
placed F Tamar Slay (groin) on the injured list. Rogers did not
play. ... Lynch's career high for rebounds is 20 with Philadelphia
in 1999. Jamaal Magliore added 12 boards for the Hornets, who had a
50-38 edge on the boards.