Hornets 104, Wizards 97

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Desmond Mason scored 22 points and converted a late three-point play to help the New Orleans Hornets hold off Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards 104-97 on Friday night.

The Hornets, missing three injured starters, won back-to-back games for the first time in nearly two months with their best offensive showing since Dec. 6.

New Orleans took an 87-85 lead on Jannero Pargo’s two free throws with 5:25 left and held onto the lead as Arenas made as many mistakes down the stretch as he did shots.

Arenas pulled the Wizards to 91-90 with a 3-pointer, but Mason answered at the other end with a three-point play. Mason pump-faked to get Jarvis Hayes into the air and then banked his shot in off the glass.

Arenas missed a 3-pointer at the other end, and then was in disbelief after getting called for charging foul on Washington’s next possession. DeShawn Stevenson was whistled for an offensive foul the next time down, and the Hornets stretched the lead to 96-90 when Pargo stole Arenas’ crosscourt pass to Hayes and raced down the court for a layup with 1:10 to play.

Arenas, the NBA’s second-leading scorer, got a steal near midcourt and hit two free throws with 46 seconds left to get Washington within four, and the deficit was 100-97 after Stevenson’s two foul shots with 19.6 seconds left. But that’s as close as the Wizards got.

Rasual Butler sealed the win with two free throws with 16.4 seconds to play, and Arenas’ 3-pointer was off-target at the other end.

Arenas missed 12 of his first 15 shots and wound up with 23 points on 5-for-19 shooting. Stevenson added a season-high 22 points, Caron Butler scored 18 and Antawn Jamison had 14 for Washington.

Devin Brown matched his season-high with 19 points and added a career-high nine assists for New Orleans. Rasual Butler added 18 points, Pargo scored 17 points off the bench, Marc Jackson had 11 and Tyson Chandler got his third double-double in the past four games with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

New Orleans hadn’t won consecutive games since Nov. 21 and hadn’t scored more than 100 points since a 105-89 win over the Lakers on Dec. 6.

AP-ES-01-12-07 2242EST

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