OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Everybody on the court could tell Mike
Dunleavy released his final shot an instant too late -- everybody
except Dunleavy, who popped his jersey and romped around the arena
celebrating a basket that didn't count.
His Golden State Warriors were an instant too late to avoid an
embarrassing loss to the flailing New Orleans Hornets, who seemed
just as surprised as Dunleavy to learn they were heading home as
Rasual Butler scored 20 points and hit three 3-pointers in the
final 4½ minutes to lead the Hornets to just their second victory
in 14 games, 86-85 over Golden State on Wednesday night.
Jason Richardson and Dunleavy scored 19 points apiece for the
Warriors, but neither player could come up with a basket in the
final 7.7 seconds. Richardson's attempt was blocked by Butler
before Derek Fisher missed a rebound attempt -- and Dunleavy
released a short bank shot just after the buzzer sounded.
"I thought I got it in," Dunleavy said in the Warriors' somber
locker room. "But when nobody else was reacting, I figured
something must be wrong."
Something has been wrong with both of these teams for two
months, but the split-second difference between the final buzzer
and Dunleavy's release sent the Hornets from the court with stunned
Rookie Chris Paul had 18 points and seven assists for the
Hornets, who didn't score in the final 86 seconds of their third
road game in four nights. They still hung on to snap their
four-game losing streak and breathe life into their fading playoff
"We understand we have to scratch and claw our way to every one
of these victories down the stretch," Butler said. "It feels real
good to know that we're still in the hunt. We feel we're absolutely
a playoff-caliber team, even though we're a young team. And we know
we have to go out there and prove that."
Butler, promoted to New Orleans' starting lineup just two weeks
ago, hit seven 3-pointers last week against the Los Angeles
Clippers -- the Hornets' only other victory since Feb. 26.
New Orleans remained in 10th place in the Western Conference,
two games behind eighth-place Sacramento with two games in hand.
Though they've done little to deserve a playoff berth since the
All-Star break, the Hornets still have a shot.
"I keep shaking my head that we are still there with 12 games
left," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "If we can win eight or
nine of these games, it'll be interesting. Sacramento's not running
away with the eighth spot, and Utah is right there."
Neither team led by more than three points in a tight fourth
quarter until Butler put the Hornets ahead 86-81 on back-to-back
3-pointers from the corner. But Richardson hit two free throws, and
Fisher's jumper pulled Golden State within one point with 36
After Marc Jackson missed a jumper, the Warriors called a
timeout -- but Richardson, Fisher and Dunleavy all failed to rescue
Golden State from a second consecutive home loss after a gritty win
at Sacramento on Sunday.
"We ended up getting a ton of mediocre shots," Warriors coach
Mike Montgomery said. "The longer we did that, the more they got
confidence that they could stay in the game. Then we got ourselves
in a hole that we had a tough time digging ourselves out of. We got
three shots at the end, but we never should have been in that
The Hornets even won in Oakland without leading scorer David
West, who missed his second straight game with a sprained left
ankle, and former Warriors guard Speedy Claxton, who bruised his
right big toe.
P.J. Brown also went to the locker room with 2:44 to play after
spraining his left ankle when he was fouled on a drive to the
basket -- but afterward, Brown said the sprain was mild. He plans to
play Friday against Memphis.
Baron Davis, traded from New Orleans to Golden State last season
in a deal involving Claxton, sat out his seventh straight game with
a sprained right ankle that's hampered him for a month. Davis, No.
2 in the NBA in assists, could be cleared to play after his next
examination on Thursday, however.
Before the game, New Orleans recalled Brandon Bass from a
brief stint with Tulsa of the D-League. He played just one game in
Tulsa after playing in 19 with the Hornets this season. ...
Warriors G Will Bynum was named the top rookie in the D-League
earlier in the day. He spent most of the season with Roanoke in the
minor league. ... The clubs meet again in Oklahoma City next week.