New Orleans (TSN) – David West scored 25 points and made a key jumper with 16 seconds remaining, as the Indiana Pacers erased a 22-point deficit to beat the struggling New Orleans Hornets, 81-75, on Saturday.
Paul George added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers, who have won three in a row. George Hill and Lance Stephenson tallied 12 and 10 points, respectively.
“As a group, we felt that we had to get our legs back,” West said. “We came out struggling in that first half. I thought the team did a good job of just gaining our composure and getting a little bit more focused defensively. Offensively, we started making some shots.”
Robin Lopez ended with 24 points, 11 boards and six blocks for the Hornets, who have lost 11 straight games for the first time since December 2004. Greivis Vasquez donated 14 points and Anthony Davis had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Saturday’s game was a tale of two halves. New Orleans led by as many as seven in the first quarter and took an 18-11 edge into the second.
Holding a 21-15 lead with 10:17 remaining in the first half, the Hornets went on a 9-0 run to increase their margin. Lopez tallied the first seven points of the spurt that Xavier Henry capped with a bank shot to make it a 30-15 game.
New Orleans went ahead by 22, 46-24, on Lopez’s layup with 57.8 seconds to go. The home team took a 46-29 margin into the locker room.
Indiana switched the momentum in the contest with a big third quarter. The Pacers started the second half on a 20-4 run. West had eight points during the surge, which D.J. Augustin capped with a free throw to cut the gap to 50-49 with 3:13 left.
West made two jumpers at end of the period to tie the contest at 53.
The Pacers took their first lead of the game early in the fourth. Hill’s 3- pointer gave Indiana a 60-59 edge with 7:23 to play.
With the game deadlocked at 65, the Hornets scored five straight points. Davis’ slam and Lopez’s three-point play gave the home team the lead with 3:55 left.
However, the Pacers responded with the next 10 points to go back in front. West tallied six points and Stephenson’s layup made it 75-70 with 1:24 remaining.
Vasquez stopped the run with a three-point play to cut the gap to two. Stephenson made a layup on Indiana’s ensuing possession to make it 77-73 with 52.5 seconds to go.
Davis kept New Orleans alive with a driving layup. However, West made a fadeaway jumper from the foul line to put the Pacers up by four, 79-75, with 16 ticks left on the clock.
Vasquez and Davis missed shots on the ensuing New Orleans possession.
“They had a second half the way we had a first one,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said. “They hit shots. They got stops when they needed stops. We did the same thing in the first half. We only got to the free throw line seven times. That’s pretty tough to swallow, especially in a game where we are coming off a back-to-back. You know you need to get to the line so that you can stop play and set your defense. We couldn’t get to the line tonight. It’s tough to swallow, but the NBA is cruel that way.”
Indiana has won four straight against New Orleans … Pacers forward Gerald Green (ankle) missed the game … West scored his 10,000th career point in the third quarter.