The New Orleans Hornets hadn't had anything to celebrate for so long, they wanted to make sure they didn't forget anything Monday night after holding off the Utah Jazz 76-75. It was the first win of the season for the Hornets, who had opened with eight straight losses.
"We persevered. We won,'' said P.J. Brown, who had nine rebounds.
Jamaal Magloire led the Hornets with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
New Orleans gave Utah several opportunities to win, but the Jazz couldn't convert. Andrei Kirilenko missed two free-throw attempts with 4.4 seconds left and Gordan Giricek's jumper at the buzzer bounced off the rim, starting the Hornets' celebration.
"It's like I kept saying. It's gonna come," said Scott, who got his first win as Hornets coach. "We've just got to keep working to get better on the defensive end."
New Orleans was just fine on defense, holding the Jazz to 12 points in the final period and a 26-for-68 night from the floor.
"This team averages over 100 points a game. But we shut them down," Brown said. "Offensively we were good, but defensively, we was even better."
Nailon scored 16 points in his first start for the Hornets, who also spoiled the evening for a sellout crowd of 19,911 on the night John Stockton's No. 12 was retired.
"We leave all that to Chicago now," Brown said.
Utah rallied from a 19-point deficit in the second half and led briefly down the stretch but could not sustain it.
Kirilenko led Utah with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks but didn't score in the fourth quarter. Carlos Boozer had 10 rebounds for Utah, Mehmet Okur and Carlos Arroyo scored 10 points apiece and Arroyo added seven assists.
"They were desperate to win a ballgame and they found a team that couldn't stand the pressure," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.
Armstrong, who scored 10 points, grabbed the ball after the game to take it back to the Hornets' locker room.
New Orleans was more inspired at the beginning and never let the Jazz pull away once they gained their first lead.
Stockton sat courtside during the game, looking out of place in a dark suit instead of a uniform. The Jazz could have used him, too, especially in a lackluster first half.
"We started out on the floor I think without our full concentration. That's why they jump on our backs straight from the beginning," Kirilenko said.
Utah was in its first game back from a four-game road trip and trailed by 15 points at halftime.
The Stockton celebration was about all Jazz fans had to cheer until late in the third quarter, when Utah got back into the game, rallying to tie it at 69 on a three-point play by Arroyo.
Utah tied it two more times before finally taking its first lead at 73-72 on a jumper by Okur.
But Nailon put the Hornets back up by three points, and the lead held. The Jazz nearly threw away an inbounds pass with 11.2 seconds left, which would have sealed it.
Utah got another break when the Hornets knocked the ball out of bounds after Kirilenko's second miss from the line but couldn't capitalize on it. Giricek got off the shot in time but missed, and the Hornets finally had something to celebrate this season.
"We had ample opportunities to win the game," Boozer said. "This one hurt a little bit."
New Orleans outrebounded Utah 48-37. ... Utah forward Matt Harpring did not dress because of a bruised left knee. ... Alex Garcia didn't dress for New Orleans because of a groin strain. ... The Hornets will go for consecutive wins at Golden State on Tuesday night.