Knowing full well his team entered Thursday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks with a perfect 3-0 record in overtime, Hornets coach Byron Scott joked before the game that he wished the rest of this season's games would go into an extra period. Sure enough, when the Hornets blew a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead, overtime proved to be just what they needed to outlast the Bucks 109-101 in double overtime at the Ford Center. "We got a reprieve,” Scott said. "We got lucky.” But, coming off a two-point overtime win over the Denver Nuggets one night earlier, the Hornets knew exactly what to do with that fortune. The Hornets outscored the Bucks 12-4 in the second overtime. Bobby Jackson's 3-pointer with 1:42 left to play gave the Hornets a four-point lead. Chris Paul and David West combined to make three of four free throws to extend the margin to seven with 48.6 seconds remaining. "We got some toughness,” Scott said. "We're young, but we got some toughness. We got some heart. "I couldn't tell you how painful it would have been if we would have lost. It would have made yesterday's game (in Denver) almost null and void. And I think the guys understood that.” The Hornets moved to 23-27, just a game and a half out of the playoffs. They've now won seven of their past nine games and 11 of their last 16. And the recent surge has come as no surprise, even though the Hornets were 12-22 on Jan. 8. "We knew the type of team we had,” said forward David West, who finished with 21 points and a career-high 19 rebounds. "But it was all a matter of us being healthy. We remained confident even when everybody was hurt. "Even when (Chris Paul) went down, we were like, ‘When everybody gets healthy we'll be OK. We'll be able to make a little push.' We're just trying to go into All-Star break with that momentum.” The Hornets have three games remaining to get there, all of them coming against sub-.500 teams. Two of those games are against the Memphis Grizzlies, the NBA's worst team. "I think we have a chance right now as far as moving up, and right now we want to push this thing as far as we can until the All-Star break is here,” Scott said. "And when that's over, hopefully we'll be right there.” Reaching that goal shouldn't be a problem so long as the Hornets come with more inspired efforts such as Thursday's. Tyson Chandler scored 11 points and tied a career-high with 22 rebounds. Chandler and West helped the Hornets notch a franchise-record 71 boards and hold the Bucks to 49. The Hornets overcame 37 percent shooting by grabbing 31 offensive rebounds, also a franchise record. Chandler and West combined for 23 of those. "They were all over the place,” Hornet Devin Brown said. "That's where it starts, with your big guys, and they were great tonight. They were altering shots, blocking shots, trapping on the pick and roll. They really set the tone.” In a reversal from their previous two outings, the Hornets outscored the Bucks in each of the first three quarters. They led by 15 midway through the third quarter. But that lead shrunk to 10 to start the fourth and dwindled from there, as the Hornets watched the Bucks reel off an 11-0 run to take a one-point lead with 2:44 remaining in regulation. The game appeared to be over when the Bucks took a four-point lead with 48.9 seconds remaining. But Paul made two free throws, and Bucks guard Maurice Williams (game-high 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists) made one of two free throws. Paul made a layup to pull the Hornets within one, and Earl Boykins, a 90.8 percent free throw shooter, made only one of two foul shots to give the Hornets one last chance. With no timeouts, Paul raced the length of the court and made a contested layup with 0.9 seconds remaining. Williams missed a desperation shot at the end of regulation.
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