• 66°
franklin county times

Hornets win in OT

By By Richard Dark/EMG staff writer
December 7, 2002
NEW ORLEANS New Orleans center Jamaal Magloire stands nearly eight inches shorter than Houston Rockets center Yao Ming.
But on Friday night it was the Hornets center that played the role of the true giant.
Magloire was undaunted by the imposing presence and hype of the Chinese phenom, as he scored five of his 16 points in overtime, as the Hornets held off an extremely scrappy Rockets bunch to keep their home unbeaten streak alive at 11, by virtue of a thrilling 98-96 victory in front of 13,869 rabid fans in the New Orleans Arena.
"I can't say enough about the job "Cat" did down low, he really came to play against Ming, tonight. He just took over at the end," said Hornets head coach Paul Silas. "I'll give it to him, tonight. He was terrific.
Ming wasn't bad either. Yao continued to show how he is quickly adjusting to the NBA game, throwing in 16 points and 13 rebounds. Magloire added a career-high 17 rebounds to go with his points.
As far as pure point production, Jamal Mashburn and David Wesley paced the Hornets (14-6) with 25 and 19, respectively, while Kenny Thomas and Steve Francis lit it up for the Rockets (10-8) with 29 and 24.
Magloire missed the second of two free throws with 34.7 ticks left, and Ming's point blank putback knotted the game at 84, setting the stage for the final theatrics of regulation Courtney Alexander's game-winning attempt at the buzzer was short.
But in the extra session, it was Thomas 3-point play that got Houston out in front and prompted many to doubt whether the Hornets could keep their spotless home record intact.
But Magloire put those fears to rest by continuously going strong at Ming, drawing foul after foul and getting to the line after a pivotal Mashburn block on Ming and a Wesley trey. "I've got to take shots closer to the basket," said Ming through an interpreter. "Their defense was very tough tonight." The Hornets biggest lead was nine, the Rockets, four.
After Magloire had finished his freebies, the Hornets led 93-88 with 53.3 ticks left and held on, as a Moochie Norris 3-pointer at the horn provided the final margin.
A 13-2 burst in the first five minutes of the third turned the tide in the hosts favor. But Francis and Ming got the Rockets back into it with a run of their own. Francis acrobatic bucket and subsequent free throw tied the game at 80, capping an 11-2 Rocket spurt.
Despite the Magloire board work, the Rockets won the war on the glass 51-47.
Baron Davis continued his gritty play in the face of back trouble, turning in 14 points, nine assists and five boards.
Do you remember?: Former Alcorn State hoops star Larry Smith. He was a standout performer at Alcorn under the legendary coach Davey Whitney. Smith, now the top Rockets assistant coach, left Alcorn for a 13-year stint in the NBA in 1980, but not before averaging 16.7 points, and 11.1 rebounds in 111 career games in Lorman as a Brave.
Known as "Mr. Mean" while in the pros for his aggressive style of play, Smith, is fifth on the NBA's career offensive rebounding list with an average of nearly four per game during his tenure.
The same year Smith left Alcorn, the Rockets used their first round draft pick to select John Stroud out of Ole Miss.
Popping the big one: A local couple got engaged on the court during the break between the first and second quarters.
Close but no cigar: Brown electrified the crowd when he cleanly rejected a shot over the 7-6 Ming at the 3:55 mark of the opening period. Brown did finish with a pair of blocks, including one on Ming.
David moving up: With his 19 points, against Houston, Wesley moved into sole possession of fourth place on the Hornets all-time scoring list.
Saintly supporters: Saints players Deuce McAllister, Joe Horn, Sammy Knight and Dale Carter were in their usual courtside seats Friday night.
What's next: The Hornets hit the road today for the back end of a back-to-back at Milwaukee before returning home on Monday to face the Los Angeles Clippers.

x