Celtics
Pelicans
88 - 106 Final
  for this game

Butler keys Hornets rout over Celtics

Mar 20, 2007 - 4:17 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- Rasual Butler's 3-point resurgence kept the New Orleans Hornets' fading playoff hopes alive.

Butler connected on 5-of-6 shots from three arc and scored 18 points off the bench as the Hornets used some outstanding 3-point shooting to post a 106-88 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Tyson Chandler had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Chris Paul added 16 points and six assists for the Hornets, who entered the contest having lost seven of eight games and two games behind idle Golden State for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth.

"We came out playing really hard, we understand the importance of these last few games, and we are coming out and trying to give ourselves the best chance to win ball games," Butler said. "We played good team basketball, made the extra passes on the offensive end, got transition buckets, helped on defense, and we got to the free throw line. When you do all of those things well, it is hard to lose."

The 6-7 Butler was struggling with his shooting before finding his stroke in his last two games against New York and Washington. He connected on a combined 8-of-11 shots in those contests after hitting just 1-of-10 from the arc in his previous three games.

"He is making shots again," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "The last couple games he has found his touch again, and hopefully we can count on that the rest of the season. It's always a good sign when you have a guy coming off the bench making shots. (The) last few games, he seems to have gotten his confidence back and he is looking to be aggressive with the ball. I just hoped he saved some of those for (Wednesday vs. Memphis)."

Butler's output was his best since scoring 19 against Toronto on January 24.

"I talked to coach Scott on the road, I think it was in Denver, I went to his room and we had a long conversation about what I need to do coming off the bench," Butler said. "When I am open, he is expecting me to shoot, and when you know that, it raises your confidence a couple notches, and I am learning how to get my buckets coming off the bench, and that conversation really defined (my role) for me."

Trailing 31-26 after the first quarter, the Hornets outscored the Celtics, 31-9, in the second period to take command. The Hornets held the Celtics to 3-of-20 shooting from the floor.

"The first five minutes of the second quarter, I think we set basketball back 20 years," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I think we went three or four minutes without making a shot. It was just not pretty to watch. Then they started hitting and we continued with the misses. I thought about putting Paul (Pierce) and those guys back in, but then I just decided not to do it."

"In the first quarter they shot 72 percent, had about six layups, and we talked at the end of the quarter about tightening up defensively," Scott said. "And it never fails it seems to go hand in hand, when we play good defense we shoot the ball well. We really got out there in the second and put the defensive clamps on them and got a few buckets here and there."

The Hornets scored the first eight points of the period, and after a three-point play by Celtics' Kendrick Perkins, got consecutive 3-pointers from Jannero Pargo, Butler and Devin Brown to forge a 43-34 lead with 4:20 left. The Hornets connected on 5-of-7 shots from the arc in the decisive stanza and 10-of-17 for the game.

"Guys like Rasual, when they are hitting shots from outside, they really open up the floor for Tyson Chandler to get good looks, it allows me to cut into the lane," Paul said. "When he lights it up, it makes it harder on other teams to figure out who they are going to try to stop. We need all of our guys on the same page, and the last few games he has really stepped it up."

Butler's 3-pointer with 2:13 pushed the edge to 77-54 and his shot from the arc with 4:45 left in the game provided the Hornets their biggest lead, 100-71. Boston never got closer than 17 points after intermission.

Paul Pierce scored 14 of his 28 points in the first period for Boston, which opened the game by making its first nine shots for a 22-16 lead.

"We made shots that were not great shots early," Rivers said. "I was surprised that Paul Pierce was the only one who came out ready to play. We are on the end of a long trip, and we could tell early that it was going to be a long night. Our guys were late on picks, no help on defense, and I could tell we were in trouble."








  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA BOSTON 88
    NEW ORLEANS 106 FINAL

    Mar 19 10:20 PM


  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA BOSTON 58
    NEW ORLEANS 86 END, 3RD QTR

    Mar 19 9:50 PM


  • CORRECTION
    AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA BOSTON 40
    NEW ORLEANS 57 HALFTIME

    Mar 19 9:07 PM


  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA BOSTON 40
    NEW ORLEANS 57 FINAL

    Mar 19 9:06 PM


  • AT OKLAHOMA CITY OK
    NBA BOSTON 31
    NEW ORLEANS 26 END, 1ST QTR

    Mar 19 8:38 PM