for this game

Rockets overcome West's 44 points to beat Hornets

Dec 30, 2009 - 5:17 AM By CHRIS DUNCAN AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON(AP) -- Chris Paul and David West put up some gaudy numbers for the New Orleans Hornets. Somehow, the Houston Rockets came away with the win anyway.

Aaron Brooks scored 27 points, Luis Scola added 13 points and 12 rebounds and the Rockets overcame Paul's triple-double and West's career game for a 108-100 win over the Hornets.

Paul had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his 11th career triple-double and first this season. West had 44 points and 12 rebounds, but the Hornets still slipped to 2-13 on the road this season.

"We're trying to pick up wins, especially out on the road," said West, who hit 18 of 30 shots. "We got the rhythm that we wanted, but we just weren't able to sustain it."

Shane Battier scored 20 points and Carl Landry added 18 off the bench for the Rockets, who went 12 for 23 from 3-point range and finished with 27 assists.

Houston improved to 19-13, a surprising start since the team has played virtually the whole season without All-Stars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. Yao is out for the season with a foot injury and the team acknowledged Tuesday that it's trying to deal McGrady, who was unhappy with his playing time as he tried to come back from offseason knee surgery.

The remaining Rockets continue to use the low expectations for their season as motivation.

"Everybody in this locker room is tough, they want to win," Landry said. "Everybody kind of wrote us off early in the year and hey, that's pretty much just fueled our fire and brought a smile to our face."

West helped the Hornets rally to take the lead after Houston built a 10-point halftime lead. The Rockets shot 59 percent (23 of 39) in the first half, then missed their first six shots of the second.

West scored 22 points in the third quarter on 7-for-10 shooting. Scola poked him in the eye with 3:45 left, but West returned after a timeout and scored eight more points to carry New Orleans to an 82-74 lead.

"It wasn't looking very good for us," Scola said, "but we came back and closed the game pretty good."

With West on the bench for the start of the fourth quarter, Houston quickly took an 87-86 lead. West returned, but Brooks promptly hit his fifth 3-pointer. Brooks picked up his fifth foul seconds later and went to the bench.

Battier was fouled by James Posey on a 3-pointer from the wing with 5:25 left and swished the free throw to give Houston a 96-86 lead.

West hit consecutive baskets to match his previous career high (40) and Emeka Okafor converted a three-point play with 2:51 left to draw the Hornets within four. Okafor fouled out on Houston's next possession.

Devin Brown sank a 3-pointer to cut Houston's lead to 100-98, but Trevor Ariza drove for a dunk, then sank a free throw. Paul missed on a drive, Landry rebounded and hit a free throw with 27 seconds left to secure the win.

After getting outscored 31-13 in the third quarter, the Rockets outscored New Orleans 34-18 in the fourth.

"We knew that we were playing un-Rockets basketball in the third quarter and we wanted to come out and finish the game strong," Battier said. "We said to ourselves, 'Come on, guys, let's play the way we know we are capable of playing."'

Both teams shot well in the first half, but the Rockets built a 61-51 lead.

The Rockets hit 14 of 18 shots, including five 3-pointers, during an 11-minute stretch between the first and second quarters. The Hornets shot 56 percent (20 of 36) over the first 18 minutes to stay within striking distance.

Brooks outplayed Paul for a half, sinking four 3-pointers and scoring 14 points. West scored 14 on 7-for-12 shooting in the first half.

NOTES: Coach Rick Adelman said McGrady never progressed from his layoff to the point where he was ready to increase the seven-time All-Star's minutes. "He's been hurt for over a year," Adelman said. "The thing that people want to write about is who he was two years ago, and he isn't that right now. We have a whole team here and it's not just about what he wants or what he was going to want, or what was going to happen." ... Scola has 14 double-doubles this season. ... Okafor matched a season high with five blocks, all in the third quarter.