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Hot Hornets beat slumping Sixers, climb over .500

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- David West and the New Orleans Hornets got
aggressive when it counted, and it helped them to their sixth win
in eight games.

West scored 22 points, including a tiebreaking layup with 50.4
seconds left, to lift the Hornets to an 88-86 win over the
Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.

After struggling against Philadelphia's zone defense the entire
second half, the Hornets scored the final nine points of the game
to close out the win.

"We got stops down the stretch," West said. "We finally
figured out a way to score some buckets and then we had them
scrambling a little bit."

After a missed jumper by Speedy Claxton caromed off the rim and
backboard, West grabbed the ball and put it back to give New
Orleans an 88-86 lead.

Claxton drew a charging foul against Chris Webber on
Philadelphia's next possession, but Desmond Mason's miss gave the
Sixers one last chance. Andre Iguodala grabbed the rebound and
passed to Allen Iverson, who rushed up the court and missed a
3-pointer from the left wing as the buzzer sounded.

"Honestly, it was a good look. It didn't get blocked or
anything and I got it off in time, but I knew it wasn't good as
soon as it left my hand," said Iverson, who matched his
NBA-leading scoring average with 34 points.

The Hornets (8-7) have now won six of their past eight games,
and the Sixers (8-9) have lost six of eight.

"We really don't have anything to lose," West said. "I think
all of the pressure's on every team that plays us. We don't feel
any pressure."

After averaging 12.9 points in New Orleans' first seven games,
West is averaging 18.8 over the past eight.

"Teams feel like they have wins against us," West said.
"Teams see us on the schedule and think, 'This is a win."

Webber said he thinks the difference in the Hornets this season
is that Byron Scott -- in his second year as coach -- has had time to
indoctrinate the team with his winning ways.

"The funny thing is they're not more talented than they were
last year," said Webber, who had his ninth double-double with 24
points and 10 rebounds. "You just can't replace a Baron Davis and
a big fella like what they had (with Jamaal Magloire). He was an

"Hopefully, that should say a lot about their team. Hopefully,
they'll take it that way. They're doing it with not the same talent
that they had."

The 76ers had their biggest lead of the game at 82-74 after
Iverson's two free throws with 4:59 left.

New Orleans started chipping away at the lead with J.R. Smith's
3-pointer from the left wing, and Chris Paul pulled the Hornets
within 86-83 when he grabbed a loose ball and raced up court for a

After Smith missed two potential game-tying 3-pointers, Mason
took a pass from Claxton and was slammed hard to the floor as he
dunked over Samuel Dalembert with 1:28 left. He stayed face down on
the ground for a few moments before teammates huddled around to
help him up.

His free throw tied the game at 86, and Webber missed a jumper
on Philadelphia's following possession to set up West's

West also scored six points during a 10-0 first-quarter run and
his two-handed jam gave New Orleans an 18-14 lead.

New Orleans then scored the first five points of the second
quarter and took a 33-23 lead on P.J. Brown's jumper from the right

The Hornets continued to extend their lead with back-to-back
dunks by Mason and Smith, and Paul's 3-pointer from the left side
made it 50-36.

The Sixers eliminated New Orleans' 13-point halftime lead with a
19-5 run to open the second half. Against Philadelphia's zone, the
Hornets settled for outside shots and forced attempts late in the
shot clock, going 2-for-13 to start the second half, including four
missed 3-pointers.

After shooting 21 free throws in the first half, New Orleans got
to the foul line only twice in the third quarter and Philadelphia
took a 60-59 lead on Kyle Korver's 3-pointer from the right wing.

Game notes
The Hornets have more wins against Philadelphia (40) in
their 17-year history than against any other team. The Hornets are
40-25 against the 76ers. New Orleans has 38 wins against Milwaukee
and Washington. ... Mason, who played at Oklahoma State, made his
first start in Oklahoma City as Bostjan Nachbar missed his second
straight game with a sprained right knee.

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