LOS ANGELES -- Pretty soon it's going to be time to stop referring to New Orleans as the surprising Hornets. They're certainly not surprising themselves.
David West had 29 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Paul added 16 points and 13 assists, and the surging Hornets broke open a tight game in the third quarter to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 95-81 Wednesday night.
"We feel like we can compete. We're just going to keep playing," West said after the Hornets (21-11) won for the sixth time in seven games and raised their road record to 12-5.
"Our team is staying healthy," Paul said. "We're confident, we're winning, we're sticking to our game plan night in and night out."
Peja Stojakovic scored 16 points and Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Hornets, who outrebounded the Clippers 46-33 and made 25 of 27 foul shots.
"We're doing some real good things on both ends of the floor," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "I don't think we're playing our best ball. From a coaching standpoint, you can always do better."
It would have been difficult to do much better than New Orleans did in defending the Clippers' Chris Kaman, third in the NBA in double-doubles, rebounds and blocked shots. With Chandler leading the way, the Hornets held Kaman to nine points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
"We talked about Chris Kaman very seriously," Scott said. "Tyson Chandler had a challenge on his hands with him and we had to challenge him as a team. I thought we did a great job in closing down the lanes and not allowing him to dominate the boards offensively as well."
Kaman shot just 1-for-10.
"We took every post-up away, made them shoot jump shots," Chandler said. "We had a good defensive strategy tonight, keeping him away from what he's comfortable doing."
Kaman said he didn't have much room to maneuver when he got the ball.
"I tried to pass and find my teammates and tried to shoot the ball when I had the opportunities, but it just didn't go down tonight," he said. "We're losing, and people are frustrated. And they should be. That's all part of losing. We've just got to stick together, keep playing."
Corey Maggette had 20 points and six rebounds to lead the short-handed Clippers (10-20), who have lost eight of their past nine home games and seven of their past eight overall. Rookie Al Thornton added 15 points, Cuttino Mobley scored 13 and Brevin Knight had 12 points, seven assists and four steals.
Stojakovic shot 1-for-8 before making three straight 3-pointers to trigger a 24-5 run that gave New Orleans a 69-52 lead, and the Clippers weren't closer than 11 points after that. It was 71-58 entering the fourth quarter.
"Defensively, for the most part, we were pretty good," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Overall the big difference in the game was at the free-throw line. We didn't get there and they did, and that hurts."
The Clippers outscored New Orleans 16-4 in the final 4:45 of the second quarter to tie the game 41-all at halftime, and led three times early in the third period before the Hornets took command.
"We let them back in the game in the second quarter," Paul said. "In the end, we imposed our will, defensively most of all. We did a good job trapping Chris Kaman. That was the key to it."
The Hornets went on a 15-2 run to finish the first quarter and start the second for a 29-16 lead. New Orleans didn't commit a foul or a turnover in the first period, and didn't have a foul until West was called for charging with 7:26 left before halftime.
Paul's selection as Western Conference player of the month for December was announced earlier Wednesday. The third-year pro averaged 24.5 points, 10.4 assists and 3.0 steals to lead the Hornets to a 9-5 record last month.
"I think it's fantastic," Scott said. "It shows he's come a long way. He's a coach's dream."
The last Hornet to win a conference player of the month award was Jamaal Magloire in the 2003-04 season. ... Clippers F Tim Thomas missed his fourth game due to a sore left knee, and teammate Aaron Williams sat out his eighth with a sprained left wrist. ... Scott made good on a pregame promise to shorten his bench, using only eight players. "Right now, they're playing awful," he said of his reserves. "We've got about three or four guys playing good basketball." ... After getting only 14 double-doubles last season, Kaman already has 24 this season. ... The Hornets have won three straight games over the Clippers at Staples Center and four in a row overall.
|New Orleans (21-11) «||23||18||30||24||95|
|L.A. Clippers (10-20)||16||25||17||23||81|
|NO:D. West 29 Pts
NO:T. Chandler 15 Reb
NO:C. Paul 13 Ast
|LAC:C. Maggette 20 Pts
LAC:C. Kaman 11 Reb
LAC:B. Knight 7 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|Los Angeles||New Orleans|
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|D. West, PF||44||12-21||5-5||10||1||2||29|
|C. Paul, PG||39||3-10||10-10||4||13||3||16|
|T. Chandler, C||38||5-11||4-5||15||1||4||14|
|M. Peterson, SG||35||3-9||0-0||7||1||2||7|
|P. Stojakovic, SG||34||5-15||2-2||6||1||2||16|
|B. Jackson, PG||22||2-5||3-3||2||2||1||8|
|M. Vinicius, SF||16||0-2||1-2||0||0||0||1|
|H. Armstrong, PF||12||2-4||0-0||2||0||2||4|
|R. Bowen, SF||Did Not Play|
|R. Butler, SG||Did Not Play|
|M. Ely, C||Did Not Play|
|J. Pargo, PG||Did Not Play|
|A. Haluska, SG||Did Not Play|
|J. Wright, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|C. Kaman, C||45||1-10||7-10||11||5||4||9|
|C. Maggette, SF||39||8-15||4-6||6||4||1||20|
|J. Powell, SF||21||2-4||0-0||5||1||3||4|
|S. Cassell, PG||20||1-8||0-0||0||2||2||2|
|Q. Ross, SF||20||3-6||0-0||4||1||1||6|
|C. Mobley, SG||30||5-10||1-2||1||3||1||13|
|B. Knight, PG||28||6-10||0-0||3||7||5||12|
|A. Thornton, SF||28||7-11||0-0||3||0||4||15|
|R. Frahm, SG||9||0-1||0-0||0||0||1||0|
|T. Thomas, PF||Did Not Play|
|A. Williams, C||Did Not Play|
|E. Brand, PF||Did Not Play|
|D. Dickau, PG||Did Not Play|
|S. Livingston, PG||Did Not Play|
|P. Davis, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|