West dominates as Hornets rout SpursMay 14, 2008 - 5:36 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- The third quarter has been very good to David West and the New Orleans Hornets.
West notched playoff career highs with 38 points and 14 rebounds as the Hornets took control of their Western Conference semifinals series with a 101-79 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game Five on Tuesday.
Chris Paul scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half and added 14 assists for the Hornets, who took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven matchup. Game Six will be in San Antonio on Thursday.
Despite a balky back, West was unstoppable from the start, shooting 16-of-25 from the field for New Orleans, which outscored San Antonio, 28-11, in the pivotal third quarter.
"He carried us in the first half," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said of West.
It has been an odd series with each game a decisive rout by the home team. The Hornets have used the third quarter as the turning point in their three home wins after trailing at the break in each contest.
Morris Peterson scored 12 points on four 3-pointers for New Orleans, which has combined to outscore San Antonio, 93-46, in the third quarter of the three games at New Orleans Arena.
"We knew coming in here that third quarter was are Achilles heel," Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. "They did a great job of crowding the lane and getting back to our shooters."
Despite a 47-44 deficit at halftime, the Hornets were able to rally in this one behind Paul, who was just 1-of-6 in the first half. They opened the third quarter on a 19-4 run, which included nine points by the All-Star point guard to grab a 64-51 advantage with 4:37 left.
"I felt at halftime we made some mental mistakes," Scott said. "In the third quarter, we cut down on those mistakes. The last thing we wanted to do was go to San Antonio facing the defending champions down 3-2."
The Spurs never seriously threatened to take the lead again.
"I thought New Orleans' defense was great tonight. They played fantastic, especially in the third quarter," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "That's when they got away from us, and that was the end of the game."
Holding a 14-point lead entering the fourth quarter, New Orleans allowed San Antonio to get as close as eight points on Ime Udoka's 3-pointer with 4:46 left in the game.
Paul then added back-to-back layups to thwart any comeback attempt - the final one barely beating the shot clock to make it 89-77 with 3:22 left in the game.
"We tried to make a comeback, but they made their shots," Spurs guard Tony Parker said. "We made a run but, after that, they made some big shots."
Tyson Chandler, who scored just four points, left the game with just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter with a bruised left foot. He tried to return to the game, but the foot was too sore.
Chandler was running back on defense as Spurs guard Manu Ginobili was streaking in for layup. Despite being well away from the play, Chandler pulled up lame after taking an awkward step.
He was in obvious pain and had to be helped to the bench by teammates.
"Both are sore and beat up," Scott said of Chandler and West. "The good thing is their young and they'll be back."
Scott added that he expects both to play in Thursday's Game Six.
Ginobili scored 20 points and Duncan collected 10 points and 23 rebounds for the Spurs, who shot just 38 percent (29-of-77) from the field.
SAN ANTONIO 79
NEW ORLEANS 101 FINAL
May 14 12:21 AM
SAN ANTONIO 58
NEW ORLEANS 72 END, 3RD QTR
May 13 11:45 PM
SAN ANTONIO 47
NEW ORLEANS 44 HALFTIME
May 13 10:58 PM
SAN ANTONIO 23
NEW ORLEANS 21 END, 1ST QTR
May 13 10:18 PM
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