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New Orleans at Denver

Mason hits putback in overtime to help Hornets top Nuggets

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

DENVER -- Desmond Mason didn't wait to celebrate his first NBA game-winner.

While the officials huddled to review his scrambling putback as overtime expired, Mason was already enjoying the New Orleans Hornets' 114-112 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

"I knew it went in on time," said Mason, who led the Hornets with 23 points. "When I put the ball up I didn't see a red light. When it left my hand there was no red light. I laid the ball in and actually turned around the other way because I knew it was a bucket."

Mason's buzzer beater came after Chris Paul's short jumper with less than a second remaining was blocked by Carmelo Anthony.

"I caught it and went straight up as quick as possible," Mason said. "I was focused on Chris Paul and then the ball got tipped. I looked down, got the ball and went straight up. Nene was a couple of inches from blocking it."

The Nuggets cold have used Marcus Camby in that situation, but he was in street clothes for the second straight game with a strained groin.

A disconsolate Anthony, who scored 27 points but threw up an airball with 2.9 seconds left in regulation and the game tied at 103, skipped his scheduled postgame trip to the podium. Instead, he sat, staring into his locker while still in uniform for nearly an hour after the game's frenetic finish.

J.R. Smith, who shot only 3-of-13 against his former team, had tied it at 112 with a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left.

"I knew J.R. all last year. J.R. is a great shooter," Paul said. "He had some looks, but not many fell. He did hit the biggest one of them all."

The Hornets, who ruined Allen Iverson's return from a four-game absence, never led in regulation, which ended with Anthony tying up Paul on his way to the basket at the buzzer.

"He reached out and grabbed my arm," Paul said. "The ref said he couldn't make that kind of call with the score tied up."

Paul gave the Hornets their first lead with a 3-pointer 26 seconds into overtime, and they didn't trail again.

Iverson scored 22 but aggravated his sprained right ankle. He acknowledged he rushed back too soon to try to help his struggling team, which has lost seven of eight.

"I can't help us out there like this," Iverson said. "I tried as hard as I can tonight, but it just wasn't me. I couldn't move the way I wanted to move and I couldn't get to the basket the way I normally do. I felt at times like I had to settle for jumpers because I couldn't get there all the way. Rather than hurt my team, I am going to re-evaluate the situation. I can't play if I feel like this."

He said he might miss the next couple of games because "I don't want this bothering me for the rest of the season. My speed is a big part of my game and when I can't move by people the way I want to I know something is wrong."

Iverson also suggested for the first time that he might have to miss the All-Star game.

"This is more important than the All-Star Game," Iverson said. "This means more to me than the All-Star game. I have been there and done that in my career. If I have to (skip it), if that's the right thing for me to do, then that is exactly what I will do. That is something that I haven't thought about because I don't care about that right now. I care about this team right here."

If Iverson backs out of his eighth All-Star appearance, that would give Anthony another crack at making his first All-Star team as one of commissioner David Stern's injury replacement picks.

Stern has said he won't hold Anthony's 15-game suspension for fighting against him when choosing replacements for the Feb. 18 game in Las Vegas.

On the eve of this game, Nuggets coach George Karl said he thought he'd have a hard time keeping Smith from getting too excited about facing the team that gave up on him last summer. He was right to be concerned: Smith missed his first eight shots, including consecutive airballs, before scoring his first basket with 10:19 left in the game. He finished with just nine points.

Notes:

  • Tyson Chandler has pulled down 12 or more rebounds in each of his last eight games, breaking Anthony Mason's franchise mark of seven straight such games set in March 1997.
  • Denver had won six straight overtime games.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Desmond Mason ends a wild game against Denver with a putback at the buzzer in overtime.  (AP)
Desmond Mason ends a wild game against Denver with a putback at the buzzer in overtime. (AP)
Scoreboard
NO/Okla. City (22-27) «2229272511114
Denver (23-24) 312525229112
NO:D. Mason 23 Pts
NO:T. Chandler 16 Reb
NO:C. Paul 7 Ast
DEN:C. Anthony 27 Pts
DEN:E. Najera 9 Reb
DEN:A. Iverson 9 Ast
Players of the Game
DenverNew Orleans

C. Anthony

T. Chandler
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
279610162

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New Orleans
T. Chandler, C445-120-2162010
C. Paul, PG406-232-247515
D. West, PF378-171-571517
D. Mason, SF3610-143-561523
D. Brown, SG345-126-672117
R. Butler, SF243-110-05119
B. Jackson, PG216-82-242115
J. Pargo, PG112-61-10215
C. Simmons, PF80-01-22001
H. Armstrong, C50-00-02010
L. Johnson, SF41-30-04012
M. Jackson, PF10-00-00000
P. Stojakovic, SGDid Not Play
B. Bass, PFDid Not Play
M. Vinicius, SFDid Not Play
Totals 46-10616-25571821114
 43.4%64.0% 
Denver
A. Iverson, PG499-213-549122
C. Anthony, SF419-239-996427
S. Blake, PG396-120-056214
E. Najera, PF374-53-390411
Nene, PF368-162-682418
R. Evans, PF263-41-24227
J. Smith, SG203-131-23229
L. Kleiza, SF182-40-04144
M. Camby, CDid Not Play
D. Johnson, SGDid Not Play
K. Martin, PFDid Not Play
J. Sampson, CDid Not Play
Y. Diawara, SGDid Not Play
Totals 44-9819-27462823112
 44.9%70.4% 
Other Games
NJ 87 Final
Atl 85
SA 110 Final
Wash 83
Orl 103 Final
Tor 113
Sea 103 Final
Ind 102
Char 83 Final
Phi 92
LAC 77 Final
Cle 94
Mia 91 Final
Bos 79
GS 93 Final
Min 121
Mem 97 Final
Dal 113