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West, Hornets rally to topple Celtics

Mar 23, 2008 - 4:17 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Chris Paul may have had an off night, but fellow All-Star David West did not.

West poured in 37 points and keyed an impressive surge in the fourth quarter as the New Orleans Hornets rallied for a 113-106 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Paul finished with 19 points and seven assists, despite battling early foul trouble, in helping the Hornets push their home winning streak to nine games.

After trailing by double figures throughout the first half, New Orleans trimmed its deficit down to just six points on Tyson Chandler's tip-in with 54 seconds left in the third quarter.

"The one thing we talked about (Saturday morning) was attacking them, and I don't think we did that in the first half," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "I thought we were just kind of, I don't want to say going through the motions, but we were making some shots that obviously kept us in the game."

With Paul forced to the bench due to his fifth foul, Paul Pierce helped the Celtics gain some momentum with a nifty layup over Chandler just as the the buzzer sounded for an 89-81 edge heading into the fourth.

But New Orleans rallied back again as Paul's backup Jannero Pargo, who led the way with seven points during an 11-4 burst to start the fourth, cutting it to 93-92 at the 8:03 mark.

"I just wanted to come in and be aggressive because CP picked up some fouls a little early," said Pargo, who had 15 points. "I just wanted to force the tempo, and I think I did a pretty good job."

"Pargo was huge. David West single-handedly destroyed us," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "But Pargo was the most important player on their team. They had their leader off the floor, and they actually cut into the lead, got the lead, with him off the floor. And that's the time we should have stretched the lead, and we didn't."

The Hornets continued to pile on points, taking their first lead since early in the first as West scored eight straight points to forge a 99-93 advantage with 3:53 remaining.

"I just wanted to be aggressive," West said. "They were leaving me open and trying to stop Tyson at the rim. I was able to get in my rhythm early and the guys just kept coming to me."

"(West) had a real quiet 37 points," Scott said. "He looks forward to the challenge. Kevin Garnett is one of the best players in this league. David loves those challenges in playing against the best, and I think, he showed he's just as good."

Rajon Rondo's driving layup sliced Boston's deficit to three with 1:31 to go. But Paul drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing on the next possession to make it 107-101.

New Orleans hit all six free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Boston jumped out to a 13-point advantage after one quarter behind the efforts of Rondo and Pierce as the duo combined for 27 points in the period.

"We definitely had our opportunities, had our early big lead, but we couldn't get stops for some reason," Pierce said. "They shot the ball well and, when you turn the ball over as much as we did, it's tough to get wins, especially on the road."

Pierce had 16 of his 28 points before halftime and Rondo added 24 for Boston, which finished 4-1 on its five-game West Coast trip.

"In the whole picture, it was a terrific trip, going 4-1 on this trip was terrific," Rivers said. "But it stings a little when you know if you had just taken care of the ball and played solid, there is a very good chance you could have had a 5-0 trip."

It was just the Celtics' fourth loss in 28 games against the Western Conference this season.

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