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West helps Hornets power past Clippers

Nov 25, 2008 - 6:53 AM By John Reger PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- David West poured in 27 points to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 99-87 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

West was one of five Hornets to score in double figures against the Clippers and Chris Paul recorded his sixth career triple-double with 14 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds.

"We really wanted to come out aggressive," West said. "I think we're starting to get a better rhythm and we're playing well. I'm a little more relaxed, playing looser. I'm not as worried about making mistakes."

The loss spoiled rookie Eric Gordon's performance. In his first start of the season, the guard scored a career-high 25 points and made 4-of-8 3-pointers.

"I thought he played great," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We saw tonight what we saw in him when we drafted him."

The Clippers were without new teammates Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins for the third consecutive game. The two, who were traded from the New York Knicks for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas last Friday, are not able to play until all of the players have passed their physicals.

"It will be good to have Randolph to add another scorer," Los Angeles guard Baron Davis said. "We're doing a better job of executing, but we need another scorer."

Los Angeles could have used the duo against the Hornets. The Clippers stayed competitive in the first half despite making only 16-of-45 (35.6 percent) shots from the field.

Behind Gordon's 13 first-half points, Los Angeles kept up with New Orleans. There were 18 lead changes and 11 ties in the first half and neither team led by more than five points.

While Gordon was scoring, he also had the added responsibility of guarding Paul. At 8:15 of the first quarter, Gordon stepped on Paul's foot and sprained his right ankle. He sat out for the rest of the first quarter, but returned in the second.

"I thought he stayed in front of him as well as anyone you are going to see," Dunleavy said of Gordon's defense on Paul.

With New Orleans leading by only three points entering the third quarter, the Hornets started pulling away. Gordon's jumper got the Clippers to within two points midway through the third, but the Hornets went on a 9-3 run and closed the session with a 76-65 bulge.

"We came out in the second half with more energy," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "They were killing us on the boards in the first half. We talked about both of those things at halftime."

In the fourth quarter, Gordon pulled the Clippers to within 86-80 on a 3-pointer, but West hit two consecutive jumpers to build the lead back to 10 as the Hornets cruised to their third straight win.