SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Emeka Okafor drained a shot at the buzzer to force overtime and reserve Aaron Gray scored six points in the extra period to lead New Orleans to a 121-117 NBA victory over Utah.
Thursday's victory was extra welcome after the Hornets saw David West taken from the court in a wheelchair after he fell hard after a dunk that tied the game at 103-103.
West, who scored 29 points before he was hurt, injured his left knee and X-rays were negative, the Hornets said.
Paul Millsap's two free throws put Utah ahead 105-103 with 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation.
Okafor, who came back in the game when West was injured, was able to tie it up.
Chris Paul scored five of his 24 points in overtime for the Hornets.
Millsap led the short-handed Jazz with 33 points, but it wasn't enough to prevent Utah's fourth straight defeat.
The Hornets hadn't played since Saturday. Coach Monty Williams used the time to start building a "playoff mentality" in the team.
"We tried to create a bunker mentality, playoff mentality," Williams said of the closed-door practice sessions.
"Some things were said in practices that I didn't want anybody else to hear. That's just the way it's got to be for us."
Williams said the sessions helped the Hornets get past an 98-85 loss to Boston, in which New Orleans played what their coach called an undisciplined second half.
"Guys watched the film, took it to heart," Williams said. "We had some spirited practices this past week. It was definitely what we needed."
The victory over Utah launched a three-game Western trip for the Hornets, who are seventh in the Western Conference with a narrow lead over eighth-placed Memphis.
The Jazz fell 4 1/2 games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot.
The Hornets will also face Phoenix and the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers on the key road swing.
"It's really huge for us to get off to a good start," Williams said.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »