The way things have been going on the road lately for the New Orleans Hornets, it only figured they’d have to watch one of the NBA’s most prolific three-point shooters rim out an attempt before escaping with a win.
Trevor Ariza made a tiebreaking three-pointer with 1:34 to play and David West scored four of his 19 points in the final minute, helping the New Orleans Hornets pull out an 83-81 win over the injury-riddled Boston Celtics on Friday when Ray Allen’s three-point bid missed in the closing seconds.
”I just think we did a great job of getting stops when we needed to,” Paul said. ”Trevor hit a timely three right there at the end when we didn’t have anything going for us. It said a lot about us to get a stop there at the end when we were up two.”
Chris Paul had 20 points and 11 assists for New Orleans, which won for just the third time in seven games. Emeka Okafor scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
New Orleans had lost seven straight and 9 of 10 on the road.
Ray Allen led Boston with 18 points, Paul Pierce had 12 points and seven boards and Nate Robinson scored 11 and had six rebounds.
”I told the guys after the game that I’m not happy, we should have won the game,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said.
Boston’s lost three of four since winning 14 straight.
Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo, who leads the league with 13.8 assists per game, missed his seventh straight with a sprained left ankle. Forward Kevin Garnett was out with a strained right calf, an injury sustained Wednesday against Detroit. Center Kendrick Perkins hasn’t played yet this season due to offseason knee surgery from an injury in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and backup point guard Delonte West missed his 16th straight game with a broken right wrist.
”Obviously, they’re a different team without those guys, but it’s a good win for us,” Paul said.
After Boston moved ahead 73-66 on Allen’s three-pointer with just under 6 1/2 minutes to play, New Orleans scored 11 of the next 13 points, taking the lead on Marco Belinelli’s jumper from the top of the key with 3:07 left.
”We’ve just got to build on this one,” West said. ”This is a good win for us. We haven’t won on the road in a while. It just feels good to get one.”
Robinson tied it with a driving basket with 1:59 to go. He was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw before Ariza’s three moved the Hornets ahead 25 seconds later. West then nailed a jumper from the left wing with 54 seconds left.
Pierce had a basket and Allen hit two free throws, closing it to 82-81 with 21 seconds to play.
Boston had to foul, putting West on the line with 19.6 seconds left. He missed the first, but made the second.
After Pierce fumbled a pass near the sideline, he passed it to Allen, who was forced to take his long three. Paul grabbed the rebound and Boston was unable to foul before time expired.
”Regardless of the injuries, we’ve still got to show up and play,” Pierce said. ”There’s no moral victories. It was a game of ups and downs. We just didn’t play consistent basketball.”
New Orleans opened a 66-57 lead on Okafor’s dunk in the closing minute of the third quarter before Boston scored 16 straight points over a 5:37 stretch.
Allen started the run with a jumper with four seconds left in the third and hit three straight baskets in the fourth — the final two were three-pointers 1:15 apart. The second gave Boston a 73-66 lead with 6:27 to play.
The Hornets missed their first nine shots to open the fourth quarter before Belinelli hit a jumper from the top, halting a scoreless stretch of 5 minutes 45 seconds. Boston opened the quarter by nailing seven of its initial 10 shots.
”When you play this team here, you not only need big play, but you have to be poised,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. ”I thought when they made that run in the fourth quarter, I thought our guys were poised.”
New Orleans led 66-57 after three.
Neither team shot over 42 percent in the opening half, with Boston holding a 39-37 edge at the break.
NOTES: Boston’s makeshift lineup due to the injuries had Pierce looking a bit frustrated at one point in the opening half. He clamped his hands twice calling for the ball from Von Wafer before shrugging his shoulders. During a timeout, Pierce was talking to Wafer for a while. … ”I heard guys saying somebody needs to step up. Nobody needs to step up,” Rivers said of the list of key injured players. ”The guys just need to do what they can do.” … The Hornets had consecutive double-digit losses to the Lakers and Minnesota in their previous games. … West played despite being listed as questionable with a sprained left ankle. … Glen Davis was whistled for a technical in the third quarter.