NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The New Orleans Hornets have stopped showing
their age and started showing off their experience.
Baron Davis had 23 points and 10 assists, while 13-year veteran
Stacy Augmon came off the bench for 17 points, including two shot
clock beaters in the final period. The Hornets evened their
first-round playoff series with a 96-85 victory over the Miami Heat
in Game 4 Tuesday night.
"Things are starting to come together," Davis said. "Tying it
up 2-2 puts a little more pressure on them to hold serve on their
home court. We're going in there with the utmost confidence. We
just have to play to our experience."
Miami was hurt by a late mistake by rookie Dwyane Wade, who
failed to inbound the ball before the requisite five seconds with
53.6 seconds left and the Hornets leading 88-82.
After that, Miami was forced to foul. New Orleans hit the free
throws to pull away.
The series resumes Friday night in Miami. The home team has won
New Orleans, which looked overwhelmed by a younger, more
athletic Miami team after the Heat took Game 2 93-63, looked
composed and rarely rushed or forced shots in hitting 50 percent
from the floor.
Augmon and another veteran role player, George Lynch, combined
to shoot 11-for-16 as Lynch finished with 11 points.
"Showing your age is a misconception. Those first two games we
took a lot of bad shots on their floor," Lynch said. "We like to
say the older you get, the smarter you become as a basketball
player, and when you've got (opponents) that are more athletic and
faster, you've got to find a way to slow it down and keep them from
playing to their strengths."
Miami coach Stan Van Gundy called small forwards Augmon and
Lynch "the guys that really hurt us."
"For them to get 28 points at that position ... they just
dominated that spot today," Van Gundy said.
Some of New Orleans' tougher shots fell, as well, such as two
double-pump 3s by Davis.
"He's a great player ... some of those shots he hit were just
crazy," Miami guard Eddie Jones said. "I guess when you get it
going everything you throw up goes in. .... We contested shots and
they were just dropping for him."
What made Davis' performance more impressive is he didn't
practice the past two days while nursing a sprained left ankle and
sore left knee.
"He's a tough guy. He came out and fought it," Hornets coach
Tim Floyd said. "I don't know where his conditioning is, but he
didn't want out."
New Orleans led much of the game, but began the fourth quarter
down 71-68 after a furious rally by Miami.
Davis quickly tied it with one of his five 3-pointers and New
Orleans began to dictate the game in the final two minutes after
Augmon's shot-clock buzzer beater gave New Orleans an 86-80 lead.
Lamar Odom led Miami with 25 points on an array of drives and
jump hooks. Jones had 16, but Caron Butler, Miami's leading scorer
in the series, was held to 3-of-11 shooting for seven points. Wade
finished with 11. Miami was 5-of-22 from 3-point range and finished
shooting 40.5 percent.
"Some people are going to try to find some excuse why we lost,
some myth or something. There ain't no myth, there ain't no
reason," Butler said. "We've just got to step it up. It's as
simple as that."
New Orleans led 60-49 in the third quarter after Lynch hit a
3-pointer. Instead of folding, Miami went on a 22-6 run to storm
ahead. That included a 12-0 spurt.
The Hornets, shooting 33 percent over the first three games of
the series, hit nine of their first 10 shots in the second quarter.
They led 41-34 after Augmon finished a fast break by grabbing a
touch pass from Lynch and dunking it.
New Orleans shot nearly 69 percent for the quarter. But Jones
broke out of his shooting slump, hitting three 3-pointers and 11
first-half points to keep Miami as close as 50-44 at halftime.
The game was delayed about four minutes late in the second
quarter because someone threw a cream pie in the face of Hornets
television sideline reporter Jordy Hultberg. The pie splattered
onto the court. When play resumed, Butler slipped in that same area
and Van Gundy went into a tirade. ... Like Game 3 here, Game 4 fell
short of a sellout. Announced attendance in the 17,200-seat New
Orleans Arena was 16,009. Deputy NBA commissioner Russ Granik
attended the game and said the league was disappointed not to get
playoff sellouts, but not concerned about the long-term viability
of the franchise in New Orleans. "It's still a new operation here
and I feel very comfortable with the general level of support,"
Granik said, noting the league is pleased with the team's TV and