Elvis night can't save Hornets
By By Richard Dark / EMG staff writer
Jan. 9, 2003
NEW ORLEANS, La. On a night when the New Orleans Hornets paid homage too the late Elvis Presley, it was the visiting Boston Celtics who reigned as the Kings inside the New Orleans Arena.
A national TV audience watched the Celtics hand New Orleans its fourth home loss in five games to the tune of 93-83.
The Celtics (20-14), behind a 28-point effort from Paul Pierce took over down the stretch to break open a contest that was tight throughout the first three and a half quarters.
But a 12-5 run in the first half of the final frame did the trick for Boston, which seemed to have much more energy, and shooting touch down the stretch.
Conversely, New Orleans (20-17), in the third straight contest without the injured Baron Davis, couldn't buy a bucket late in the game as the squad went nearly nine minutes between field goals, dooming any shot of getting win number one of the season against the Celtics.
Jamul Mashburn and Courtney Alexander paced New Orleans, which squandered an 11-point lead in the second half. Mashburn pumped in 21, while Alexander added 20.
The Celtics rallied from the double-digit deficit with a 10-0 run that ended just before halftime. But the Hornets maintained control through most of the third quarter. David Wesley drained three of his 17 at the 4:29 mark of the period to give New Orleans a half dozen cushion, but Boston's Eric Williams, who chipped in with 17, answered with a trey of his own to spark an 8-0 burst. Wesley also added eight assists.
The beginning of the fourth was a seesaw affair, and Elden Campbell (7 pts.) gave New Orleans its final lead of the night with a floater at the 8:53 mark.
Boston won despite losing the battle of the boards, 41-38. They outshot New Orleans 42 to 38 percent. The 16,900 in attendance and the ESPN audience saw a bruising contest in which 52 fouls were called. The teams exchanged leads 16 times and were knotted up six times.
The Hornets are back at home Friday night against Detroit.