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Late free throws lead New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- P.J. Brown refused to take a night off.

Playing through a sprained ankle even though his coach advised
him to rest, Brown hit two key jumpers in the fourth quarter and
came up with a crucial offensive rebound to set up New Orleans'
winning points in a 98-96 victory over the Washington Wizards on
Monday night.

"I wish we had 12 P.J.s," Hornets coach Byron Scott said.
"He's the ultimate warrior. I had a gut feeling he wouldn't be
able to play after watching him last night. That just shows what
type of character he has."

J.R. Smith led New Orleans with 18 points, and Brown's seventh
rebound on Dan Dickau's missed 3-pointer kept alive a possession
that ended with Dickau's go-ahead free throws with 4.5 seconds
left.

Brown, who sprained his left ankle Sunday against Orlando,
deflected attention from himself.

"We played unselfish basketball," said Brown, who had 13
points. "Everyone is involved and everyone feels a part of it."

Gilbert Arenas scored 34 points for Washington, but his 3-point
attempt at the buzzer bounced off the front of the rim.

Chris Andersen had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Hornets,
converting an alley-oop dunk and a tip-in on consecutive
possessions to help New Orleans maintain a slim lead late in the
fourth quarter.

Bostjan Nachbar added 15 points and Rodney Rogers 12. But it was
Brown's presence that strengthened a team decimated by injuries
that have kept former All-Stars Baron Davis and Jamaal Magloire out
most of the season, Scott said.

Davis hasn't played since bruising his right Achilles' tendon 17
games ago.

"Hopefully, (Brown's teammates) watched and they did learn
something," Scott said. "He is the ultimate pro and sometimes you
do have to play with a little plain. He gave us a heck of an
effort."

Antawn Jamison had 30 points and 12 rebounds for Washington, but
the Wizards' reserves were outscored by the Hornets' bench 39-12.

"They just fought harder than us and we just didn't make sound
plays. We were frantic," Arenas said. "J.R. Smith is playing
great now and he stepped up and Nachbar came in and played big for
them."

Washington outrebounded New Orleans 48-34, and the Wizards had
17 offensive rebounds, which nearly won them the game.

Down 94-88, Washington missed three shots on one possession but
rebounded all three, getting the ball to Juan Dixon for a floater
that cut the deficit to four.

After Smith's spin into the lane for a driving layup put New
Orleans ahead 96-90, Washington came back with three straight
baskets to tie it, including Jamison's putback after yet another
offensive rebound.

Jamison was fouled on the play and missed the free throw, but
the rebound went out of bounds off Nachbar, allowing Washington to
retain possession with 47 seconds left. Arenas then made a driving
layup into a crowd of defenders to tie it with 38.4 seconds left.

Dickau struggled to stop Arenas or score against him (3-of-14
from the field), but Brown's late rebound with 21.9 seconds to go
gave him one last chance.

Dickau then let the clock tick down inside 7 seconds before
starting to drive, and Brendan Haywood was called for a push with
Washington already over the limit.

"There was a little contact and normally the referee will let
it go, but in the end we should have never let it come down to
that," Haywood said. "We didn't make enough plays to win ... and
if you leave it in the officials' hands there is no way to tell
what they are going to do."

That sent Dickau, who had missed his previous two foul shots,
back to the line. But he hit both to win the game and finish with
10 points.

The Hornets, coming off a three-point loss at Orlando on Sunday,
were sharper early on, opening the second quarter by hitting six of
eight shots and forcing four turnovers. That led to a 15-2 run
during which Andersen had two steals, a transition dunk, a driving
layup and an alley-oop dunk, putting New Orleans ahead 44-32.

But after scoring once in 11 possessions, Washington closed the
quarter with a 12-5 run. Arenas had six points, including an
18-foot jumper that cut the Hornets' lead to 51-48 at halftime.

Game notes
Arenas has scored 30 or more points 15 times this season.
... Smith, a rookie, has scored in double figures in five straight
games. ... Jamison has 20 double-doubles this season. ... It was
only the second time in 19 games that Washington lost when its
opponent failed to score 100. ... Washington, 0-4 in its last four
road games, plays Tuesday night in Houston, then does not play
until after the All-Star break. ... New Orleans, which hosts San
Antonio on Wednesday, has won seven of 10 home games.