Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 1)

Series starts 10/27

Game 1: Thursday, October 27th

Rockets 88

(6-2, 2-2 away)

Hornets 89

(3-4, 2-3 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    7:00 PM ET, October 27, 2005

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 31 16 23 1888
    NO 19 14 39 1789

    Hornets sting Rockets on last-second tip-in

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- With some last-second heroics, P.J. Brown gave Oklahoma City a reason to celebrate its new team.

    The 6-foot-11 center put back Speedy Claxton's missed layup with 0.4 seconds left as the New Orleans Hornets beat the Houston Rockets 89-88 Thursday night for their first win in their new home.

    "We're feeling good I think from a mental standpoint just to get our first home win," Brown said. "I think it would have been tough to come into the season next Tuesday not having won a home game in our preseason. It's good to establish a good feeling."

    After David Wesley missed a 3-pointer for the Rockets, Claxton drove the left side of the lane and tossed the ball onto the rim. Brown caught the miss and put it back in with his right hand for the lead.

    "I thought it was more Speedy than me," Brown said. "Speedy broke down the defense, and the defense collapsed to him trying and block the shot, and it just left me wide open."

    Brown said he just tried to put the ball back as quickly as he could. After the shot went through, the Hornets celebrated at center court, then had to make one last stop on defense after officials put 0.4 seconds back on the clock.

    After two Houston timeouts, Luther Head had a chance to win it for the Rockets, but he missed a jumper from the left side at the buzzer.

    "It means the world to our guys," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We're a young team trying to find our way. And when you're trying to find your way, sometimes victories like this can be big things for you."

    The Hornets, who fell behind by 26 in their Oklahoma City debut on Sunday before getting back within two points, spotted the Rockets a 43-21 first-half lead before mounting another comeback.

    Claxton and Bostjan Nachbar hit back-to-back 3-pointers from the left wing, and Nachbar added a three-point play to get the Hornets within 63-61 with 4:05 left in the third quarter. J.R. Smith brought the 15,063 fans to their feet when his 3-pointer from the right wing spun around the rim and fell in to give the Hornets a 72-70 lead, their first of the second half.

    Juwan Howard gave Houston the lead back with a jumper from a step behind the free throw line, and Lonny Baxter's three-point play made it 80-76 Rockets. Barry stretched the lead to five with a right-handed floater in the lane, but then helped the Hornets charge back with a technical foul.

    After a 3-pointer by Nachbar, Barry was called for a foul and then a technical for arguing the call. Brown made the technical foul shot to pull the Hornets within 84-83.

    Claxton made two free throws with 1:12 left to put the Hornets up 87-86, and Luther Head responded on the other end with a driving layup.

    Rasual Butler and Wesley traded misses from 3-point range, and that set up the final play.

    "Any victory helps a young team," Scott said. "I think one thing that helps us right now is the fact that we can be down and still come back. We know we can get ourselves down and get in a hole and we have enough players with enough heart to continue to fight."

    Smith finished with 18 points for New Orleans, Nachbar scored 17 and Claxton added 14. Brown and David West, who left with a sprained right ankle in the fourth quarter and didn't return, had 13 points each.

    Derek Anderson scored 18 points to lead Houston, which was without Tracy McGrady for the second straight game because of tendinitis in both of his knees. Yao and Howard contributed 16 points each.

    Desmond Mason, the former Oklahoma State star New Orleans acquired in a trade with Milwaukee on Wednesday, arrived late in the first quarter and got a warm ovation from the crowd.

    The Hornets, who will play 35 home games in Oklahoma City this season, open the regular season with a home game Tuesday against Sacramento.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press