for this game

Paul, Hornets hand Pistons fifth straight loss

Jan 18, 2009 - 4:31 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- A visit from the New Orleans Hornets couldn't even turn the Detroit Pistons' fortunes.

The Hornets got 23 points and 14 assists from Chris Paul, 20 points from David West and handed the Pistons their fifth straight defeat, 91-85, on Saturday.

It's Detroit's longest losing streak since dropping six in a row in 2003-04.

The victory was the first at the Palace since November 15, 2006, for New Orleans, which had dropped nine of its last 10 games against Detroit.

It also made the Hornets' three-game road trip a success despite a 14-point loss at Cleveland on Friday.

"We told them before the game that if we came in here and took care of business this would be a great road trip," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "You win two out of three on this trip (to Dallas, Cleveland and Detroit) it's a great trip no matter how you look at it."

Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 19 points.

Detroit's five-game losing streak - the longest since the 2003-04 season - has Allen Iverson baffled.

"I think we need to do whatever it was that we were doing when we were winning seven games in a row," Iverson said. "We need to get that monkey off our back. I've been in the league so long that you have that 'here we go again' feeling.

"Character will come into play now. It should have already. We are going to see what type of players we are and what type of professionals we are and what type of teammate we are to each other."

The Hornets scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to erase Detroit's 68-67 lead after three. James Posey scored four and Peja Stojakovic added three during the run that gave New Orleans its biggest lead of the game, 76-68, with 9:50 to play.

Detroit battled back to take an 81-79 lead on a twisting layup by Iverson after a 3-point basket by Tayshaun Prince. Paul hit a jump shot from the top of the key as the shot clock expired to put the Hornets ahead to stay, 83-81.

Posey bumped the lead to four with a 15-foot jumper.

Antonio McDyess split a pair of free throws to make it 87-83, but Paul sandwiched a pair of foul shots and a driving layup around a layup by Hamilton to give New Orleans an 89-84 advantage.

Detroit had numerous chances in the final half-minute but couldn't convert until Hamilton was fouled by Stojakovic with 7.8 seconds left. He hit 1-of-2 to make it 89-85.

Overall, Paul scored six points in the final 3:22.

"We defended well and we ran and got some transition baskets," Paul said. "That's when we're at our best."

Detroit coach Michael Curry said that it wasn't just the fourth quarter that cost the Pistons.

"It's easy to just look at the fourth quarter," he said. "Naturally, that's the last thing on everyone's mind, but I thought the big stretch was the last four minutes of the second quarter. We had six shots in the paint and we didn't make them, either on post-ups or drives. That was big in a game that you knew would be close."

Although Paul and West led the Hornets in scoring, Scott said that the biggest difference- maker was center Tyson Chandler, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

"I really thought Tyson was the catalyst tonight," Scott said. "He hit the boards, ran the floor and put a lot of pressure on their guys to get back. That was one of the biggest differences tonight."

Paul also gave Chandler his due.

"He contested everything at the rim and that helped us get out and run," Paul said.

Chandler said that a pre-game talk from Scott motivated him.

"What he said made sense," Chandler said. "He said that sometimes you have to take a step back and see what makes this team click. I did that myself and tried to bring to this game what I'm best at, and that's running the floor and creating second shots."

A 12-1 run by the Hornets late in the second quarter wiped away Detroit's biggest lead of the first half and sent New Orleans to the locker room with a 39-37 halftime advantage.

An end-to-end drive by Hamilton, who led the Pistons with nine points in the first half, gave Detroit a 34-27 lead with 4:31 to play in the first half. Stojakovic triggered the Hornets' run with a jump shot and, when Rasual Butler capped the spurt with a basket, New Orleans was ahead 39-35.

New Orleans led for most of the third quarter, but the Pistons got 3-point baskets from Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey late in the quarter to take a 68-67 lead into the final quarter.