for this game

Hornets survive scrappy Grizzlies

Dec 17, 2008 - 5:22 AM By Shawn Pachucki PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- David West came up big down the stretch to help the New Orleans Hornets fight off the Memphis Grizzlies, 91-84, on Tuesday.

West nailed a jumper with 1:33 to play for two of his team-high 18 points, pushing the Hornets to their fifth win over the last six games. He netted eight points in the fourth quarter, including all four of his free throws.

After a long-range shot from Hakim Warrick cut the Hornets' lead to 88-84 with 16 seconds left, West sank a pair of free throws at the other end. Nine seconds later, Chris Paul made one of two from the line to seal the game.

"We were able to maintain our composure and make key plays down the stretch to win the game," West said.

Paul finished with 18 points on 3-of-10 from the field and nine assists, and James Posey came off the bench with 15 for New Orleans, which shot 41.9 percent (26-of-62) and connected on 10-of-20 3-pointers.

Posey's long ball off an assist from Paul answered a runner by O.J. Mayo that gave Memphis a 79-78 edge with 3:17 to go. Then, after a miss by Mayo, Peja Stojakovic nailed a pressure 3-pointer from the corner with Mike Conley's hand in his face 25 seconds later to put the Hornets up for good.

"This was an important game to get," West said. "Everybody gave something tonight."

"In the fourth quarter, we were able to get some big spots and get some key shots," coach Byron Scott said. "That was the key to the victory."

Also key was the Hornets' ability to get to the free-throw line, where they made 29 of their 38 attempts compared to only 14-of-19 for Memphis.

"We had chances to win this game and they out-executed us," Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni said. "They got to the line more than we did tonight. They forced the action. We give them credit."

Rudy Gay scored a game-high 28 points and Mayo added 20 points for the Grizzlies, who shot 47.8 percent (33-of-69) in dropping their seventh straight to the Hornets.

The Hornets were the last team to beat Memphis before its four-game winning streak - a 106-87 on December 6.

"Everybody is staying upbeat," said Gay, who rebounded from a six-point performance in their first matchup. "Hopefully we won't have a hangover. (We) want to remember this game so next game (we) can take it over from the beginning."

Looking for their first five-game win streak in two seasons, the Grizzlies opened the second and third quarters with 9-2 runs to cut into sizable leads by the Hornets each time and tying the game the second time around.

"We didn't want to let this one slip away," Paul said. "They got some momentum back. We let them back in it but we made the plays we needed to come out with the win."

Memphis trailed 26-11 after the first, and then Darko Milicic's lay-up four minutes into the third ended the second spurt, tying the game at 51-51 after the Grizzlies were down seven at the half.

The Hornets had contributions from nearly everyone in the first half, with all starters posting at least six points and four bench players hitting shots. The balanced attack included 5-of-8 3-pointers and a 49-42 advantage at the break.

Gay and Mayo were all Memphis had going early on, combining for 28 of the team's 42 first-half points. The two were responsible for all five of the Grizzlies' made field goals in the first quarter and collected 17 total points during the second to overcome the Hornets' 15-0 run closing the opening quarter.

New Orleans held a 30-21 advantage in bench points and forced 19 turnovers by Memphis.

Paul made NBA history, tying Alvin Robertson with his 105th straight game with at least one steal. The pick came with 3:33 to go in the first quarter. Paul finished with five steals.

"Anytime you can be mentioned in the history books is a great accomplishment," said Paul, who has failed to record a steal in only 19 of his 243 career games.

Paul has a chance to break the record tomorrow at home against San Antonio.

"Playing against a great team, the Spurs," Paul said. "That's who Alvin Robertson played for. It's very fitting. ... I'm honored to have an opportunity to break it."