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Hornets drop Raptors for fifth straight win

Jan 18, 2011 - 2:20 AM New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - David West came up huge down the stretch and finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds, as the New Orleans Hornets held on to edge the Toronto Raptors, 85-81.

Emeka Okafor turned in a solid game with 17 points and 16 boards -- 12 offensive -- while Jarrett Jack added 17 points off the bench for New Orleans, which has won five straight and eight of its last 10.

DeMar DeRozan led a balanced attack with 23 points for the Raptors, who dropped their fourth game in a row. Ed Davis chipped in with 11 points and 12 rebounds in a reserve role, while Julian Wright and Andrea Bargnani each had 11 points in defeat.

"We did the best we could to mix it up defensively, play some zone and man-to- man, try to keep them off balance a little bit, but in the end, they just hammered us on the boards," Toronto head coach Jay Triano said.

Trailing, 76-74, Marcus Thornton drained a pair from the stripe and Jack's driving layup put the Hornets in front 78-76 with 4:20 left to play.

Amir Johnson's three-point play on the Raptors' next trip put his squad up by a point, but West countered with a layup to give the Hornets the slim lead with 3:48 remaining.

After each side failed to score over the next 2 1/2 minutes, West made 1-of-2 with 1:25 left to make it an 81-79 game. DeRozan was fouled on the way to the basket and hit both at the stripe to tie things with 40.4 seconds to go. However, West stepped up again and drained a medium range jumper with 31.7 seconds left to put New Orleans ahead 83-81.

West came up huge on the defensive end, blocking DeRozan's shot from in close, then was fouled and calmly made both free throws with 15 seconds on the clock to seal the victory.

"You have to give Toronto credit. They played hard, they executed, they exposed us when we weren't playing the right kind of basketball," Hornets head coach Monty Williams said. We found a way to win a game and we're finding ways to win games in a variety of ways."

New Orleans held a 20-16 edge after the opening quarter, but Bargnani's three- pointer finished off an 11-2 run to start the second to put the Raptors in front 27-22.

Toronto maintained the lead throughout the period and went ahead by nine, following a layup by Davis with 34.4 seconds remaining and took a 44-37 advantage into the locker room.

DeRozan's jumper with 4:47 left in the third stretched the visitors' lead to 61-50, before New Orleans made its move.

Chris Paul drained a pair of free throws, then a pullup jumper to spark a 12-4 run. Jack closed the quarter with two makes at the line and a floater to get the Hornets within 65-62 after three.

Game Notes

The Raptors were without guard Jerryd Bayless (sore left ankle) and forward Linas Kleiza (sore right knee)...New Orleans improved to 16-5 at home this season, while Toronto fell to 5-16 as the visitor.