NEW ORLEANS – Marcus Thornton broke up an inbounds pass with 14 seconds left in overtime and then finished a fast break with a reverse layup, lifting New Orleans to a 103-102 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night that extended the Hornets' winning streak to six.
Chris Paul had 20 points and 12 assists, and corralled the critical loose ball that was tipped by both Thornton and Trevor Ariza. Paul then raced up court and passed to Emeka Okafor, who bounced a pass to Thornton under the hoop.
Rudy Gay, who had 22 points, had one last shot to win it for Memphis, but his jumper near the top of the key bounced off the back rim.
David West had 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Hornets, while Okafor added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Thornton finished with 17 points.
New Orleans came back from a 15-point, third-quarter hole, marking the third time in four games that the Hornets won after trailing by 12 or more in the second half.
Ariza added 11 points for New Orleans and turned in a disruptive defensive performance that produced two steals and two blocked shots.
The Hornets were down by four in the final half-minute but then Paul hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to pull them to 102-101, setting up the wild finish in which Thornton deflected Mike Conley's inbounds pass.
It was a cruel ending for Conley, who had scored 22 points and bounced in a desperation floater as the shot clock wound down with less than a minute to go in the extra session, giving Memphis a 100-98 lead. O.J. Mayo added a fast-break layup that made it 102-98 to put the Hornets' winning streak on the brink.
Instead, Memphis dropped its second straight.
Zach Randolph had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, while Marc Gasol had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Memphis held its largest lead when Randolph's jumper made it 64-49 with a little less than 7 minutes to go in the third quarter. New Orleans then roared back with an 18-1 run that had the crowd in a frenzy when West's putback gave the Hornets a brief 67-65 lead.
Memphis finally got its first field goal in more than 6 minutes on Conley's floater, which tied the game at the end of the period.
Mayo, who had two points on 1-of-5 shooting through the first three quarters, hit two 3s during a 12-4 run that was punctuated by Gay's alley-oop dunk early in the fourth quarter, putting the Grizzlies back up 81-73.
Momentum swung again as the Hornets scored the next nine points, with Thornton hitting a 3 and then converting his steal into a fast-break dunk to give New Orleans an 82-81 lead with 5:35 left.
The game remained tight from there, with Memphis going up 92-88 on Gay's 3 with 1:33 to go, only to have the Hornets tie it after Paul hit a 3 and Okafor made one of two free throws with 23.6 seconds to go. Memphis' last chance to win in regulation vanished when Conley, having recovered the ball after being stripped by West, was stripped again by Ariza as time ran out.
Notes: Memphis G Tony Allen missed his fifth straight game with a sore left knee. ... Three of the last five Hornets games have gone into overtime. ... Announced attendance was 15,951, meaning that if attendance averages 14,891 during the Hornets' next two home games, that will void a provision in the team's lease that would allow it to relocate after this season. ... The Hornets have now had winning streaks of eight and six games this season, marking the first time since the 2000-01 season — when they were based in Charlotte — that they had separate winning streaks of six or more games in a season.