Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 12/7

Game 1: Tuesday, December 7th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 26th
Game 3: Friday, March 25th
Game 4: Friday, April 1st

Hornets 76

(17-54, 6-30 away)

Rockets 73

(44-29, 22-14 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:30 PM ET, April 1, 2005

    Toyota Center, Houston, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 11 17 20 2876
    HOU 17 16 23 1773

    Top Performers

    New Orleans: D. Dickau 14 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    Houston: C. Weatherspoon 14 Pts, 10 Reb, 3 Stl

    Reserves give New Orleans spark

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Down by 18 points to the Houston Rockets late in the third quarter, New Orleans backup big man Chris Andersen refused to look at the scoreboard.

    In his first season with the last-place Hornets, Andersen has gradually learned that glancing up at the score usually leads to discouragement. So the floppy-haired forward did what he does best: sky high for rebounds, fight hard in the post and race down the court with unbridled enthusiasm.

    Anderson had 16 rebounds and nine points, Lee Nailon scored 16 points and Dan Dickau added 14, helping the Hornets rally past the Houston Rockets 76-73 Friday night.

    "Were we 18 down?" Andersen asked. "I was not even thinking about coming from behind. I was just trying to get the 'W."

    The Hornets' reserves pulled off a stunning comeback against an undersized Houston team that was clearly missing center Yao Ming.

    Yao sat out with a sore right calf, only the second time he's missed a game in his three-year career.

    The Rockets really could've used their 7-foot-6 All-Star, as they were outrebounded 55-43, shot only 30.8 percent and never could get close enough to the hoop down the stretch to make any easy baskets.

    Houston missed a chance to send the game into overtime when Jon Barry came up short on a desperation 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left.

    Tracy McGrady led the Rockets with 21 points on 5-of-20 shooting, and portly power forward Clarence Weatherspoon came up with a season-high 14 points and 10 rebounds.

    "It's one of the most disappointing losses I've been a part of this year," McGrady said. "We allowed those guys to gain confidence and come in here and not get discouraged. I couldn't tell you what happened."

    On a 50s-themed night at the Toyota Center when the cheerleaders wore poodle skirts and rock 'n' roll was the music of choice, the Rockets and Hornets also turned back the clock with an unsightly display of offense.

    Houston held New Orleans to 11 first-quarter points on 19-percent shooting. The Rockets weren't much better, going into halftime with a 33-28 lead despite shooting just 28.6 percent.

    The Rockets led by as much as 18 late in the third quarter, but the plucky Hornets rallied behind an 11-0 spurt early in the fourth and took a 61-60 lead on a short jumper by PJ Brown.

    New Orleans clawed ahead in the fourth without its entire starting lineup, getting only a few seconds from point guard Speedy Claxton in the final minute when Houston applied its pressure defense. No Hornets starter scored more than seven points, the first time that's happened in the NBA this season.

    "We put the second unit in there and they did a heck of a job," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Our starters just didn't have it tonight. Hopefully our starters will be rested tomorrow because they didn't play much tonight."

    New Orleans took the lead for good on Dickau's running layin, putting the Hornets ahead 65-64 and drawing loud boos from the sellout crowd of 18,148. Once the Hornets were ahead, Andersen and Brown seemed to come down with every missed shot or free throw, preventing Houston from mounting a comeback.

    "That was only because Yao wasn't out there," Andersen quipped.

    During sequence in the final 2 minutes, Andersen had his shot swatted away by Mutombo, rebounded the miss, went back up and was fouled. He made the two free throws and on the next possession, got Mutombo to foul out after he grabbed another offensive rebound.

    Andersen made the first free throw, missed the second -- but Brown chased down the ball and was fouled, giving him a pair of free throws. Brown made both, putting New Orleans ahead 74-65.

    Game notes

    New Orleans won for just the second time in 16 games against Southwest division opponents. ... The Hornets snapped a six-game losing streak against the Rockets. ... Former President George Bush and wife Barbara were among those in the sellout crowd. They left their seats at halftime and didn't return. ... Houston lost for the first time in 15 games when holding an opponent under 80 points. ... Hornets rookie J.R. Smith, who was averaging 22.3 points in his last six games, had only four points on 1-for-8 shooting.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 76 73
    FGM-FGA 22-72 (.306) 24-78 (.308)
    3PM-3PA 2-13 (.154) 7-25 (.280)
    FTM-FTA 30-38 (.789) 18-23 (.783)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-55 13-43
    Assists 11 14
    Turnovers 16 12
    Steals 4 9
    Blocks 3 4
    Fast Break Points 7 19
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 26 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 9 18

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Dan Dickau Dickau
    Points: 14
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Clarence Weatherspoon Weatherspoon
    Points: 14
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0