111 - 113 Final
  for this game

Hornets edge Grizzlies on Posey's basket

Jan 21, 2010 - 5:19 AM NEW ORLEANS(AP) -- James Posey played the entire fourth quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies because of his defense. Then he won the game with his offense.

Posey made a driving layup with 1.1 seconds left as the New Orleans Hornets beat the Grizzlies 113-111 on Wednesday night.

Chris Paul scored 10 of his 21 points in the last 4:20 and had 13 assists as the Hornets rallied from a late nine-point deficit to win it on Posey's basket. Taking an inbounds pass, he tried to get the ball to Paul, who wasn't open, so he made the play himself, converting despite being fouled by O.J. Mayo.

"They double-teamed Chris going to the ball, and I just flashed to the ball and got it," Posey said. "Then they still denied Chris a little bit and I already knew time was ticking so I just tried to be aggressive and go to the basket."

Posey, a reserve who is the Hornets' 10th-leading scorer, averages 5.7 points and had made only two baskets before his winning drive. Still, the Hornets signed him as a free agent before the start of the 2008-09 season in part because of his reputation for hitting clutch shots.

"I like being in that situation if the ball's in my hand, just having an opportunity," he said. "Tonight the opportunity presented itself."

After Posey missed the free throw, the Grizzlies called a timeout with 0.9 seconds left, but a lob for Mayo at the rim was not close.

David West had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Hornets.

Rudy Gay led Memphis with 26 points. Zach Randolph added 25 points and 12 rebounds, but he was limited to a free throw in the final nine minutes. Posey, despite giving up more than 40 pounds to him, was his primary defender in that stretch.

"That kind of changed how (Randolph) was able to operate," Hornets coach Jeff Bower said. "Although it was a size disadvantage, Pose's experience and his ability just to maintain contact and control with him really was effective"

The Hornets almost wasted a season-high 64 points in the first half when the Grizzlies went on a 27-8 run in the third quarter, but Paul took over down the stretch. With New Orleans trailing 102-93, he scored an easy basket, fed rookie Marcus Thornton for a layup he converted into a three-point play, and hit a jumper in the lane to put the Hornets ahead 103-102 with 2:57 left.

"It got really scary especially with four or five minutes left, but we've done it before," Paul said. "We never give up. We're nervous out there but when you've done it before you know there's a way. We just try to make the game as interesting as possible for all the fans."

The lead changed hands two more times as Gay almost matched Paul in the closing minutes, scoring seven straight points for Memphis, including a contested 3-pointer over Paul that tied the score at 111 with 6.7 seconds remaining.

The Hornets called timeout and inbounded the ball in the frontcourt, setting up Posey's winning play.

After West's putback layup gave the Hornets a 66-54 at the beginning of the second half, Memphis took control with a 27-8 run, including a 14-0 spurt in a span of 2:19 to start it. Gay drove to the basket for an easy layup and completed a three-point play after being fouled. Mike Conley sank a 3-pointer, and three baskets came on runout dunks.

Gay's dunk with 8:55 left gave the Grizzlies their first lead, 68-66, since 18-16 in the first quarter. Gay drove around Peja Stojakovic for another dunk as the Grizzlies went on a 9-0 run for an 81-72 lead. Memphis led by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter.

The Hornets and Grizzlies are both 22-19 at the midpoint of the season, just out of the eighth playoff spots in the Western Conference.

"If we can do those kind of swings, imagine if we were even in the first half," Gay said. "It would have been a totally different game. That's something that's definitely uncharacteristic of the new us. We took one step back."

Defense was optional for both teams in the first half, with the Hornets going ahead 64-54 into the break. The Grizzlies hit 11-of-17 shots in the second quarter and were outscored by three points. The Hornets made 17 of their first 24 attempts, a season-high 62.2 percent and scored two fast-break layups six seconds after made Memphis baskets.

The Grizzlies stayed close by sinking 56 percent of their shots in the half, mostly from close range. Randolph scored 14, and Marc Gasol added 13.

NOTES: Referee David Guthrie left briefly with a leg injury after tripping over Grizzlies guard Jamaal Tinsley with 52 seconds left in the first quarter. He returned with 8:38 left in the second quarter. ... Mayo had a season-high eight assists. ... The Hornets have beaten the Grizzlies 10 straight times in New Orleans.