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Hornets Have Habit Of Winning Close

Wednesday night the Hornets found themselves down by double digits, again. They came back to take a late lead, again. They found themselves down late in overtime, again. And they pulled out an improbable victory, again. This is becoming a habit. John DeShazier of the Times Picayune has more.

Another night (yawn).

Another second-half, double-digit deficit (sigh). 

Another overtime game (roll eyes).

Another New Orleans Hornets comeback win (check pulse; no acceleration).

The heat from that fire has been extracted by the Hornets, the threat of a scalding neutralized recently.

Don’t mistake. It’s going to happen sooner or later. Eventually, the fire will leave its mark.

But after Wednesday night, you can understand why the Hornets might be slipping deeper into the belief that their fingers are scorch-proof.

New Orleans’ 103-102, overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies at the New Orleans Arena was its sixth straight, and the third in the past four games in which the Hornets erased a double-digit deficit, this time a 15-point hole (62-47 and 64-49) in the third quarter.

They did it because they closed out the quarter on an 18-3 blitz. They did it because the Hornets (27-16), who climbed to a season-high 11 games better than .500, seem to be able to flip a switch defensively and produce stop after stop after stop when needed — the Grizzlies (19-23) missed eight consecutive shots and had three turnovers during New Orleans’ run in the third quarter.

They did it because now no hole looks too deep — not the 15-point one in the third quarter, or even a four-point Memphis lead (102-98) with 29.9 seconds left in overtime, with the heat staring New Orleans in the face, cracking a smile.

Instead, Chris Paul swished a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left. Nine seconds later, Trevor Ariza came up with a steal from Mike Conley and got the ball to Paul, who drove the court and fed Emeka Okafor, who found Marcus Thornton for a layup and the winning points with 6.6 seconds left.

“I wish we would get that out of our system,” Thornton said of the recent habit of falling behind. “But it just shows how much chemistry we have on this team.”

Read all of DeShazier’s article here: http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2011/01/new_orleans_hornets_again_pull.html

Confidence levels are high right now for the New Orleans Hornets. Winning a third overtime game in a little over a week, and a sixth straight game overall can do that to a team. Hopefully the Hornets are developing the swagger they showed early in the season.

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