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.