121 - 117 Final - OT
  for this game

Hornets outlast Jazz in OT, but West injured

Mar 25, 2011 - 5:56 AM
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Emeka Okafor's circus shot at the end of regulation sent the game to overtime, where the New Orleans Hornets pulled out a 121-117 victory over the Utah Jazz.

David West was the Hornets' leading scorer with 29 points, but suffered an apparently serious left knee injury in the final minute of the fourth quarter after stuffing in a game-tying dunk.

Chris Paul scored five of his 24 points in overtime to help New Orleans start a three-game road trip with a win. He added 12 assists, while Aaron Gray finished with 10 points and made crucial free throws in the extra period.

Paul Millsap totaled 33 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who returned to EnergySolutions Arena after losing three games on the road. But they couldn't snap that streak on their home court and fell to 36-37 this season.

"We had a slow start but we got back in the game and fought and fought and had a chance to where we were up with a few seconds left and Emeka (Okafor) hits that shot. I bet he would even say it was a lucky shot, but it got them to overtime and they made some plays down the stretch," Jazz forward C.J. Miles said.

In a game that featured 12 lead changes and 20 ties, neither team led by more than nine. The Jazz trailed by six with three minutes to go, but rallied to tie the game on Millsap's three-point play with 46.8 seconds left.

After Marco Belinelli missed a jumper on New Orleans' next possession, the Jazz came down with the rebound and called timeout. Millsap made a brilliant play after the inbound, driving down the left baseline before threading a pass between two defenders to Al Jefferson, who sank a short floater in the lane.

At the other end, West drove for a dunk despite being met at the basket by Millsap, making it a 103-103 game with 22.5 seconds to go. All of West's weight came down on his left leg, but he was off-balance, and his knee appeared to buckle.

West crumpled to the floor, grabbing his knee as play continued, and he wasn't attended to until Utah called a timeout with 6.7 seconds left. Trainers spent several minutes with West before ushering him off the court in a wheelchair.

Once the game resumed, Millsap got the ball and spun before attempting a fadeaway. The shot was no good, but he was fouled and made both free throws, leaving only 1.3 seconds on the clock.

But the Hornets managed to tie the game. A long outlet pass went to Paul, who fell as he tipped it to Okafor on the left side of the court.

Okafor had only several tenths of a second left when he got to the ball, not enough time to square up to the basket. So he was forced to release a shot in one fluid, if rushed, motion.

With the right side of his body facing the hoop, he thrust the ball toward the basket with his right hand just before time ran out, and it fell through to force overtime.

"[I saw] all there was time for was touch and go. I just looked at the rim, just to get an idea of where I'm at and let it go," recalled Okafor of the dramatic basket.

The Hornets gained a key edge in the extra period when Trevor Ariza's three- pointer made it a 112-109 game with 2:10 left.

Neither team scored again until Millsap made 1-of-2 from the line just inside the final minute, and Gray followed with a layup on the Hornets' next touch.

Earl Watson made a free throw with 31.5 seconds to go, but Gray sank two foul shots. He followed Jefferson's jumper with another pair from the line, giving New Orleans a 118-113 edge with 15.9 on the clock.

They were key makes from Gray, who had struggled to make free throws in his career. He entered the game with a career mark of 58.3 percent and had made only 10-of-20 this season, prior to Thursday's game.

But the four consecutive makes gave New Orleans the edge it needed to pull out the win. Paul sank 3-of-4 foul shots in the remaining time to secure the outcome.

Game Notes

The Hornets held a 56-54 halftime edge...Jefferson finished with 22 points and 13 boards...The Jazz shot 51 percent from the floor, but turned the ball over 13 times...Watson scored a season-high 14 points.