The Hornets tossed up 105 shots Thursday night at the Ford Center. That's a bunch of shots, even in a 58-minute, double-overtime game that was somewhere south of classic and somewhere north of interesting. The Hornets needed all buck-five of those shots just to scratch out a 109-101 victory over the limited Milwaukee Bucks. The hometowners missed 66 shots; the Hornets had one game earlier this season in which they didn't even take 66 shots. Here's how you get 105 shots. You either play racehorse hoops, like the 21st-century Suns or the '60s Celtics, or you play desperate. You play as desperate as the housewives on Wisteria Lane and attack the backboard like shoppers the day after Thanksgiving. The Hornets did the latter. In a must-win game not mathematically but surely psychologically, they stormed the lane with fury. Grabbing loose balls. Tipping loose balls. Craving loose balls like spilled jewels. The Hornets had a franchise-record 71 rebounds, which is a meaningless stat unless put in this context: the Hornets had 31 offensive rebounds, the Bucks 33 defensive rebounds. Miss a shot, which the Hornets did plenty, and they had a virtual 50 percent chance of retaining possession. "That's keeping plays alive,” said Hornet David West. "We're not shooting the ball great as a team. But you're able to win by giving yourself extra shots.” West had a career-high 19 rebounds against Milwaukee and wasn't even his team leader. Tyson Chandler tied his career high with 22. Both had nine offensive rebounds; Desmond Mason had six and was lost in their eclipse. "It's such a momentum boost,” point guard Chris Paul said of second chances. "The other team knows it's gotta guard another 24 seconds.” This would have been a horrific loss, ranking right there with the ridiculous home loss to the 76ers last week. Milwaukee, 19-31, is a bad Eastern Conference team missing its best player, sharpshooter Michael Redd. And the Hornets should have lost. Milwaukee missed three foul shots in the final 75 seconds of regulation, giving Paul a chance to make two driving layups that forced overtime. The Hornets were bad offensively — 37.1 field-goal percentage, 22 turnovers — but extra chances saved their bacon. •Down 88-84 with 20 seconds left, Mason's rebound of a West miss allowed Paul to make two foul shots. •Five of their seven first-overtime points came after offensive rebounds, including a West dunk off a Mason miss and the flurry that defined this game: West rebounded a Mason miss, then Mason missed a tip off a West miss, and West was fouled rebounding the Mason miss. West made both foul shots to tie the game at 97 with 13.9 seconds left. •The second overtime started the same way. West rebounded a Paul jumper, then rebounded a Devin Brown jumper and made a layup that gave the Hornets a 99-97 lead, and the Bucks never caught up. "When you miss a lot of shots, the only way to score is go get the ball again,” said Hornets skipper Byron Scott. "I wouldn't say it's desperate. Just hard work.” Desperate is a dirty word in the pro athlete vernacular. But desperate is not such a bad thing when appropriate. This is appropriate. This is February. You can't write off bad losses in February. The Hornets avoided a bad loss Thursday night. They played desperate. To keep alive the playoff dream, desperation is recommended the rest of the way.
NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.