West, Paul fuel Hornets to 4th straight; Pacers suffer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- David West had 35 points and 16 rebounds, and the New Orleans Hornets beat Indiana 114-106 on Tuesday night in the Pacers' first game since CEO Donnie Walsh announced he was leaving the team at the end of the season.
Chris Paul had 31 points and 14 assists as the Hornets won their fourth straight to maintain the best record (48-21) in the Western Conference.
Danny Granger led Indiana with 26 points and nine rebounds against his hometown team. The Pacers had been on a four-game winning streak, but the loss gave the Pacers back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1987-88 and 1988-89.
The Pacers lost amid reports that Walsh would take over the New York Knicks. A Pacers spokesman said Tuesday that Walsh hasn't made a decision on his future and hasn't agreed to anything with any team.
The Hornets led 59-56 at halftime, then went on a 13-2 run at the start of the third quarter to take a 72-58 lead. The Pacers ended the period on a 9-2 run that included two 3-pointers by Granger and another by Shawne Williams to cut New Orleans' lead to 86-79 at the end of the quarter.
With Paul on the bench to start the fourth quarter, the Pacers chopped into New Orleans' lead. A three-point play by Williams made it 88-82, and a pair of free throws by Granger two minutes later made it 90-86 before Paul returned.
Tyson Chandler's dunk off a pass from Paul extended the lead to 98-89, but the Pacers quickly rallied. A 3-pointer by Granger, a short jumper by David Harrison and a baby hook in the lane from Mike Dunleavy trimmed New Orleans' lead to 100-98 and forced the Hornets to call timeout with five minutes left.
The Pacers made just two field goals in the final 4:30.
Indiana F Jermaine O'Neal has missed 31 straight games, but he has been practicing and said he expects to be back soon. Indiana coach Jim O'Brien says it's a matter of O'Neal deciding his cardiovascular conditioning is good enough to play. ... Former Purdue basketball coach Gene Keady attended the game.
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