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Late surge and big fourth from West lifts Hornets past Nets

Mar 2, 2009 - 4:35 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- David West scored 14 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 99-96 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Sunday.

West was the only player doing anything for New Orleans offensively in the fourth until the final minutes. He scored the Hornets' first 14 points of the period, but the Nets led 94-90 after a follow dunk by rookie Brook Lopez with 1:59 to play.

Rasual Butler hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 94-93 and Chris Paul hit a 20-footer to give the Hornets the lead for good with 40 seconds to play.

Devin Harris and Vince Carter each scored 26 points for the Nets. Harris got off a long 3-pointer at the horn but it sailed over the backboard.

Butler's three accounted for the first Hornets points in the fourth that West did not score and he finally got some help from New Orleans' other star down the stretch.

After Harris had the ball poked away on a drive, Paul dribbled under the basket and through the lane. He was picked up by Carter on the wing and drained the go-ahead jumper over him.

On New Jersey's ensuing possession, Paul got in between Lopez and Harris on an attempted handoff and came up with a steal. Paul came up short on a 3-pointer, but Tyson Chandler outfought Carter to tap the rebound out to Butler, who made two free throws with 9.6 seconds to go to make it 97-94.

"That's an inbounds play we run, too," Paul said. "Devin's under the goal, he's obviously going to come up to the top to get the ball. So I tried to deny him. They hit Brook Lopez and of course Devin's going to go get the ball back. I reached my hand in there and just tried to smack it away."

"We knew if we had it close late we had a shot," West said. "Even though we were struggling with the pick-and-roll we were able to get some stops late and really convert those on our end."

Harris rushed a wild three, but Bobby Simmons was fouled on a putback attempt and made two free throws to pull the Nets within 97-96 with 4.4 seconds left.

Paul was then able to get loose and run the clock down, passing to James Posey, who was fouled with eight-tenths of a second on the clock. Posey made both free throws and the Nets could only manage another long three from Harris that was well off the mark.

"It's frustrating, we had two turnovers late, didn't get shots at the basket and they got great shots at the basket," Harris said. "We played fabulous all game long, the energy was there, guys were making shots. The point guard play has to be better late in the game and we just have to execute our offense and do our best to make stops. We played an excellent game, but we didn't finish the game like we wanted to."

Butler scored 22 points and Paul added 14 despite shooting 6-of-18 from the field. West was 10-of-20 from the field and had 11 rebounds.

"We did a real good job the last minute or so on both ends of the floor, defensively and offensively," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Hit some big shots, made key free throws, CP's steal at the end. And we did a real good job on the out-of-bounds plays keeping them from getting good looks."