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Bobcats hold on to beat Hornets, 73-71

By Brett Martel

Associated Press

Published: Monday, March 12 2012 8:51 p.m. MDT

New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman (35) reaches in on Charlotte Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo (0) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Monday, March 12, 2012.

Bill Haber, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Gerald Henderson scored 15 points, rookie Bismack Biyombo blocked Trevor Ariza's driving dunk attempt in the final seconds, and the Charlotte Bobcats held on for a 73-71 victory against the New Orleans Hornets on Monday night.

Kemba Walker added 14 points, including 10 during a decisive 22-5 run that spanned from late in the third quarter to midway through the fourth. Biyombo finished with 12 points and four blocks for Charlotte, which snapped a three-game losing streak but still has the league's worst record at 6-34.

Jarrett Jack 15 points and nine assists for New Orleans, which has lost five of six in falling to 10-32. Chris Kaman has 12 points and 16 rebounds, while Marco Belinelli and Ariza each scored 12 points for the Hornets.

After trailing most of the game, but never by more than eight points, Charlotte surged in front with a 12-2 run to close the third quarter, hitting 10 of 15 shots.

Walker started the spurt with a 10-foot jumper and added another from 19 feet, as well as a layup. Biyombo dunked and Henderson closed the period with a fast-break jam as he was fouled to make it 61-55 heading into the fourth quarter, which Charlotte opened with a 10-3 run with all reserves on the court.

Walker's jumper made it 71-58 before New Orleans suddenly regained the momentum on Al-Farouq Aminu's dunk with 5:41 left.

Jack added a 3-pointer and Aminu, who finished with 10 points, scored on a reverse layup and floater out of a spin move in the lane to cap an 11-0 run and pull New Orleans as close as 71-69.

Borris Diaw's inside basket snapped the run, but Jack responded with a driving floater to make it 73-71. Jack also rebounded Diaw's missed jumper with 11 seconds left to give the Hornets one last possession to shoot for the tie or win. After Charlotte used up a foul to force an inbound pass with 5.2 seconds left, Aminu found Ariza on a curling run with a seemingly open lane to the hoop. Biyombo got there just in time to alter the shot. Kaman desperately tried to snag the rebound for a putback in a crowd of players underneath, but the ball bounced away as time expired.

The Bobcats shot 43 percent (34 of 79) despite going 0 for 12 from 3-point range, with Reggie Williams missing all seven of his attempts from deep. Charlotte also outrebounded New Orleans 47-37.

The game matched two of the three worst teams in the league and some of the statistics reflected that. The Bobcats committed 19 turnovers and the Hornets 17. New Orleans shot 38.5 percent (30 of 78).

Still, both teams appeared to be playing for pride down the stretch, even though at this point losses may do their rebuilding efforts more good by increasing their chances of landing the top overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft lottery.

Notes: All of Charlotte's points in the fourth quarter were scored by reserves. ... The NBA hoped to bill the game as the first in league history in which two Mexico natives played against one another, but veteran Bobcats F Eduardo Najera had his right knee drained and was unable to play against countryman and Hornets F Gustavo Ayon. However, the game did match up Ayon against Biyombo, his former teammate on Fuenlabrada in Spain's top pro basketball league. ... Ayon, who started, finished with two points, four rebounds and four steals in 26 minutes. ... Bobcats starting F Corey Maggette left the game with back spasms after playing 10 minutes and scoring 2 points in the first half.

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