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Hornets a game behind Bucks for fourth seed

4/11/2004

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The New Orleans Hornets were injured, tired and
depleted. It didn't matter one bit.

Jamaal Magloire scored 26 points and the Hornets beat Milwaukee
92-87 Saturday night, preventing the Bucks from clinching
home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Both Miami and New Orleans are 40-40, one game behind Milwaukee
for the fourth playoff spot in the East with two games to go in the
regular season. The Heat lost to Cleveland 91-80 Saturday night.

It was a morale-boosting victory for the Hornets. They had lost
eight of 11, weren't at full strength, had played the night before
and were facing a team that had won four straight and hadn't played
since Wednesday.

"This team has never given up," said P.J. Brown, who scored 19
points for New Orleans. "I know it's been tough for everybody the
last couple of weeks. We haven't played well on the road.
(Milwaukee) needed to win in the worst way. To come up here and win
one, it means a lot to us. Hopefully, it can help get us momentum
and some confidence going into the playoffs."

The Bucks knew of Miami's loss by halftime, but still didn't
display the passion the sellout crowd of 18,717 expected of a
healthy, rested team with plenty on the line.

"We blew a golden opportunity tonight," Bucks coach Terry
Porter said. "We had a team come in here (playing) back-to-back
nights. I guess they felt the urgency more than we did, which is
disappointing."

It was easily the biggest letdown in an otherwise stellar season
for the rookie coach and his revamped roster.

"I don't know if our guys took them lightly because they were
short-handed or not but we definitely didn't come out and play with
the urgency that we needed to have in a game of this magnitude,"
Porter said.

The Bucks trailed 88-85 and had the ball with no timeouts and
20.5 seconds left, but Keith Van Horn failed to get the ball
inbounds in the required five seconds.

George Lynch was guarding the inbounds pass. Knowing the Bucks
needed a 3-pointer to force overtime, he didn't bite on the inside
fake.

"I knew he was trying to get the ball up top for somebody,"
Lynch said. "Once he faked inside, I just stayed on the outside so
he couldn't make that pass. He had nobody else to throw it to."

Brown (13 rebounds) and Shammond Williams (14 points and 11
assists) each sank two free throws after Van Horn's infraction to
seal the win.

Van Horn, playing with a bruised right hand, missed a 3-pointer
from the left wing that would have tied the game at 88 with 39
seconds left.

Magloire, who came within a point of his career high, scored 13
points in the fourth quarter, when he also grabbed six of his 13
rebounds. He had two free throws and two dunks during a 9-2 run
that put the Hornets ahead 86-81 with just over three minutes
remaining.

Guard Baron Davis (ankle) didn't make the trip, and guard
Darrell Armstrong (ankle) joined Jamal Mashburn on the bench in
suits leading the cheers for their scrappy replacements. Mashburn
is on the injured list with a knee injury. The trio accounts for
54.4 points a game.

Michael Redd scored 27 points for the Bucks, but he missed 13 of
21 shots, including all six of his 3-pointers.

"I don't think a lot of his shots were very contested," Porter
said. "He just missed them."

Joe Smith had 20 points and 10 rebounds through three quarters,
but added just one board and no points in the fourth. Like his
coach, he had no way to explain the letdown.

"No, not really. It was a hard-fought game by both teams and
they unfortunately came out on top," he said. "There's not any
type of explanation or keys to the victory that they did to
dominate us."

Game notes
Van Horn, who sat out Wednesday night with his injured hand
heavily taped, finished with five points in 23 minutes. ... The
Bucks are 4-of-26 from beyond the arc in their last two games.