West's 27, Paul's triple-double carry Hornets to third straight win

LOS ANGELES -- Chris Paul and David West gave the Los Angeles Clippers another reminder of what they lacked most: a formidable one-two punch.

Paul recorded his sixth career triple-double, getting 17 assists, 14 points and 10 rebounds for the New Orleans Hornets, in a 99-87 victory on Monday night. West scored 27 points, including a pair of jumpers that diffused a rally by the Clippers midway through the fourth quarter.

"We really wanted to come out aggressive," West said. "I think we're starting to get a better rhythm and we're playing well. I'm a little more relaxed, playing looser. I'm not as worried about making mistakes."

Peja Stojakovic had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Hornets, who won their third straight following a home-and-home sweep of Oklahoma City. Forward Morris Peterson did not play because of pain in his right knee, but backup point guard Devin Brown was back in the lineup, scoring 11 points after spraining his right ankle in Saturday's 109-97 win.

Eric Gordon scored 25 points to lead the Clippers despite spraining his ankle early in the first quarter.

Baron Davis had 19 points against his former team and Chris Kaman added 14 points for the Clippers, who have lost seven straight to the Hornets and four in a row against them at Staples Center.

Trailing by as many as 13 points after Julian Wright's 18-footer with 8:05 to play, Los Angeles narrowed the gap to 86-80 with 6:15 remaining. But West hit a 17-footer and connected again from 19 feet before Paul's layup gave the Hornets a 92-80 cushion with 4:46 left. The Clippers got no closer than eight points.

"I thought there were a lot of good things in the game for us," coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We had some good ball movement and our energy was really strong through stretches of the game. The problem pretty much was their two All-Stars. We just had a hard time keeping Chris Paul out of the paint and keeping David West from making shots. And a lot of them were well-covered."

Neither team led by more than five points until Paul set up Tyson Chandler for an alley-oop dunk that gave New Orleans a 53-46 lead with 10:33 left in the third quarter. Los Angeles got as close as two points on Gordon's 18-footer with 7:43 left in the quarter, but the Hornets responded with a 13-5 spurt that included six points by West.

"We came out in the second half with more energy," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "They were killing us on the boards in the first half. We talked about both of those things at halftime."

Stojakovic's 3-pointer with 3:58 left in the period capped the rally and extended his streak of consecutive regular-season games with a 3-point basket to 57.

"Peja is the guy who opens it up for all of us," Paul said. "When he gets it going and knocks down shots, it helps everyone else get going. Hopefully we can feed off this energy and make sure it's not just a fluke."

The Clippers weren't able to suit up their two newest players, Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins, because of some red tape involving the results of the physicals taken by Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley following Friday's trade to the New York Knicks.

"I thought the trade was going to be cleared, so I wasn't too worried," Randolph said. "I was looking forward to playing tonight, so it's really disappointing because I haven't played in about a week. I was really up, getting ready and doing all my preparation for the game. And then to find out you can't play, it sucks the life out of you."

Game notes
With Monday's firing of Eddie Jordan by the Washington Wizards, Dunleavy is now the third most-tenured head coach in the NBA behind Utah's Jerry Sloan and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich. Jordan got the Washington job 23 days before Dunleavy was hired by the Clippers on July 11, 2003. Since then, Clippers are 177-247 with one playoff appearance. The Wizards were 197-224 under Jordan with four consecutive postseason berths. ... Paul and Chandler collaborated on three alley-oop dunks, giving the duo a league-leading 16 such baskets. Last season, they were involved in 106 alley-oops, more than 60 ahead of any other duo. ... Paul extended his streak of consecutive games with a steal to 97, eight shy of Alvin Robertson's NBA record. Michael Jordan's longest streak was 77 games -- the league's third-longest. ... In their previous meeting with the Clippers on April 15, the Hornets won 114-92 to clinch their first Southwest Division title and complete a four-game season sweep.


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