Paul, West propel Hornets past Grizzlies

NEW ORLEANS -- Chris Paul and David West have accepted the fact that they may not get as much rest as they'd like at this time of year, even against some of the worst teams in the NBA.

"I'm used to it," Paul said. "My whole thing is, no matter how tired I am or whatever, I push through and I can rest until the next game. It's almost like the playoffs, playing the whole third and fourth quarter. It's all about getting wins."

Paul and West each logged more than 40 minutes Friday night, combining for 61 points as the Hornets won their second straight game with a 96-84 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Paul finished with 32 points and West 29. Paul added nine assists and five steals.

The game was close inside the final five minutes before the Hornets went on a 17-1 run in a span of 3:25, with Paul scoring twice and setting up Julian Wright's alley-oop dunk and Rasual Butler's 3 during the spurt.

Hornets coach Byron Scott isn't sure how long he can continue to ride his two All-Stars like this, but added, "We're going to find out."

"Both of those guys, the competitive nature they have seems to come out towards the end of the game," Scott continued. "Their eyes seem to light up a little bit more. At this point, every win is so important."

With the victory, the Hornets remained in fifth place in the highly competitive Western Conference, still needing to move up at least one spot to gain home advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs.

"It just so happens that every game now is going to be a fight this time of year," West said. "We just have to play and can't worry about minutes. Got to play. Got to perform. Got to will ourselves to win."

West added that no game, even against teams out of the running for the playoffs, is easy at this time of year because opponents are still "playing for contracts."

One player seeking a big contract extension is third-year pro Rudy Gay, who led Memphis with 23 points but could not prevent the Grizzlies from losing their third straight.

"We are playing well against some good teams, these playoff teams," Gay said. "Sooner or later, it's going to click and we're going to win these games. It's going to turn around for us."

Marc Gasol and Hakim Warrick each scored 12 points for the Grizzlies, who were in position to win consecutive road games for the first time all season until things fell apart down the stretch.

After escaping with a 94-93 victory on Wednesday over a Minnesota squad that came in 27 games below .500, the Hornets struggled most of the night against Memphis, which entered the game with 33 more losses than wins.

The Grizzlies led 75-73 on Gay's jumper with 6:37 left before West scored on driving finger roll and a short jumper off the glass to put New Orleans back in the lead.

Gay's free throws tied the game at 79 with 4:46 to go. New Orleans began to pull away for good when West made a pair of free throws, then Paul split Gasol and Mike Conley on a dribble drive for a layup that enlivened the crowd and seemed to energize the squad. West scored again on a fast break layup set up by Wright's pass and the Grizzlies appeared helpless to stem the tide turning suddenly and decisively against them.

Butler finished with 11 points, the only Hornets player other than Paul and West to score in double figures. Paul wound up 12-of-18 from the field.

Memphis turned the ball over 20 times, four times on steals by Wright, whose contributions have increased during the past nine games while Peja Stojakovic has been out with back pain. He had eight points and seven rebounds.

Game notes
New Orleans led 41-40 at halftime. ... Hornets C Tyson Chandler missed his second straight game with a sore left ankle. ... The Hornets won two of the teams' previous three meetings. ... O.J. Mayo, who came in averaging 18.7 points in what has been a standout rookie campaign, was only 2-of-5 shooting in 41 minutes and finished with an unusually low six points. ... The Hornets were 18-of-20 form the foul line, while Memphis was 26-of-32.