West’s Shot Lifts Hornets Over Sixers
New Orleans/Oklahoma City 88, Philadelphia 86
OKLAHOMA CITY, Dec. 2 (Ticker) -- David West and the New Orleans Hornets took advantage of an unexpected second chance.
West's follow shot with 50 seconds left capped a closing 9-0 run that gave the Hornets an 88-86 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
"We are not going to rest because we are 8-7," said West, whose team did not win its eighth game last season until January 28 - against Philadelphia.
Using a zone defense for most of the second half, Philadelphia opened an 86-79 lead with 3:33 remaining on two free throws by Allen Iverson, who had 34 points and nine assists.
"That's probably the most zone we've played," Iverson said. "It was working pretty good."
But the 76ers never scored again. Desmond Mason sank two free throws, Paul made a driving layup and Mason had a flying dunk over 6-11 Samuel Dalembert, who fouled out on the play.
Mason crashed to the court, landing on his hip, and laid on the baseline for about 90 seconds. But his wincing free throw gave the Hornets an 86-86 tie with 1:28 to play.
On their next possession, West corralled the sharp rebound of a missed jumper by Speedy Claxton and put in a layup to give the Hornets the lead for good. He scored 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting.
Claxton drew an offensive foul from Chris Webber, but Mason missed a runner that was rebounded by Andre Iguodala, who instead of calling Philadelphia's last timeout handed the ball to Iverson with five seconds left. The four-time scoring champion sped into the frontcourt and pulled up for a 3-pointer that hit the front of the rim as time expired.
"It was a quick decision that could have gone either way," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "In New York we had a chance to call a timeout, we didn't and hit the three; tonight we missed the shot."
"I got it off in time, but I knew it wasn't good as soon as it left my hand," Iverson said.
Mason scored seven of his 13 points in the final 6 1/2 minutes. J.R. Smith added 13 and P.J. Brown 12 and 14 rebounds for the Hornets, who sold out the Ford Center for the fourth time this season.
Webber scored 24 points for the Sixers (8-9), who fell below .500 with their sixth loss in eight games. They failed in a bid to sweep the season series, having beaten the Hornets in Philadelphia on November 21.
Two free throws, a steal and a layup by Iverson and a jumper by Webber gave the Sixers a 76-70 lead. A jumper by Webber and two more foul shots by Iverson extended the advantage to 82-74 with 4:59 to go.
Trailing, 54-41, at halftime, the 76ers started the second half in a zone backed by Dalembert and throttled the Hornets, who went nearly 7 1/2 minutes without a basket. Philadelphia took a 60-59 lead on a 3-pointer by Kyle Korver with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
"The zone hurt us, we were very passive against it," Paul said. "We didn't attack the basket and we were standing around looking."
West scored 12 points in the first period as the more aggressive Hornets opened a 28-23 lead. A 3-pointer by Paul widened the advantage to 50-36 late in the second quarter.