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West, Hornets surge past Blazers

Jan 3, 2009 - 6:23 AM By James Reddick PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PORTLAND, Oregon (Ticker) -- The New Orleans Hornets used stingy defense and a dominant fourth quarter to take down the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

David West scored 25 points and Chris Paul added 17 and 11 assists as the Hornets posted a 92-77 victory over the Trail Blazers.

"You have to come at them early at home," David West said. "Make them second guess what they are doing."

James Posey chipped in 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Hornets, who outscored the Trail Blazers, 31-16, in the final frame and allowed only 34 points in the second half.

"We did a real good job defensively of making it real tough for them to make shots," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Pretty much every shot they took was under duress."

The Blazers, who were without All-Star guard Brandon Roy for the second straight game, missed eight of their first 10 shots in the final quarter as the Hornets built a 74-65 lead with a 13-2 run that was capped by Hilton Armstrong's dunk off Posey's miss.

Paul scored nine of his 17 points in the fourth and the Blazers would never recover, missing 12 of their 19 fourth-quarter shots.

"They missed Brandon, but we'll take it," Scott added.

Rookie Rudy Fernandez scored 19 points to lead Portland and Travis Outlaw had 16 off the bench.

LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers' second-leading scorer this season behind Roy, shot just 5-of-18 for 13 points.

"I missed easy shots around the rim," Aldridge said. "It was just one of those days when they weren't falling."

At 6:16 of the third quarter, Hornets center Tyson Chandler hit Joel Przybilla in the chest with a retaliatory forearm. After reviewing the play, the officials ejected Chandler, the Hornets leading rebounder. He left with seven points and four rebounds.

The play seemed to re-energize New Orleans, which was trailing by five at the time and by as much as 58-51 with 2:59 left in the third quarter.

"That really heated the game up," Paul said. "We might have needed that. We may owe that win to (Chandler)."