A pair of four-game winning streaks this season have helped the New Orleans Hornets to their best start in franchise history. They'll get the chance to improve their record against one of the league's weakest teams when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.
New Orleans (8-2), which opened 2007-08 with four straight wins, matched that run on Friday with a 120-118 overtime victory against Memphis. David West's game-winning jumper with 8.3 seconds left capped a career-high 40-point night.
"I am more happy with the fact that we were able to gut this one out," said West, who had been held to 16 points or fewer in each of his last four games. "They closed in on us down the stretch hitting some big 3s, and we were able to muster a good five minutes to close them out."
West, averaging a team-high 20.4 points, was 17-of-29 from the field to help the Hornets to their best mark through the first 10 games for the first time in the club's 20-year existence. New Orleans hasn't won five straight since Feb. 8-15, 2006.
Chris Paul scored a season-high 28 and added 13 assists. Peja Stojakovic had 17 points, while Tyson Chandler had his third straight double-double with 12 points and 17 boards.
"I think that shows great promise for this team," said Paul, who is second on the team with 19.5 points and leads the league with 10.8 assists.
Despite giving up a season-high in points, New Orleans has the NBA's fourth-best defense as they've allowed an average of just 91.3 per game. The only other team to have scored more than 100 against it this season was the Los Angeles Lakers in a 118-104 win on Nov. 6.
New Orleans also improved to 5-1 as a visitor this season - last season, it took 18 road games before notching its sixth win - and now looks for its first four-game road winning streak since Dec. 2-12, 2003.
That could come against struggling Minnesota (1-6), which has lost three of its last four home games, including a 105-89 defeat to Washington on Friday.
Rashad McCants led the Timberwolves with 19 points, and Al Jefferson had 15 and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double. Reserve Antoine Walker added 14 points for Minnesota.
"Plays aren't just going to happen. You need to make them happen," Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman said. "You can call it youth or you can call it what you want. There's a little bit of that in there but it can't be an excuse for us."
The Timberwolves had hoped to build on their first win of the season - a 108-103 home victory over Sacramento on Wednesday - but had a season-high 20 turnovers, resulting in 29 Wizards points. Minnesota is off to its worst start since opening 1-9 in 1995-96.
The Timberwolves lead the all-time series 19-16, but have lost four of the last five meetings, including a 96-94 defeat on April 7 at the Target Center. The Hornets have won three straight in Minnesota, including both visits there in 2006-07.
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