West scored a season-high 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, helping New Orleans overcome a 16-point deficit and beat the Detroit Pistons 95-87 on Wednesday night.
"Detroit, they're a little banged up. We felt like this was a game we had to come in here and get," said West, who scored 18 points during New Orleans' second-half comeback. "We're not in position to be able to drop three or four games in a row where we sit right now."
Chris Paul scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and added 12 assists for the Hornets, which snapped a two-game losing streak while handing Detroit its second-straight loss. The Hornets improved to 11-13, barely good enough to pull even with the Los Angeles Clippers for 10th place in the Western Conference.
The Pistons came into the game without Ben Gordon (left ankle) and Tayshaun Prince (back), then were dealt more bad news right before tipoff when Richard Hamilton was unable to play because of a sore right hamstring. Hamilton had scored 21 points in a 107-96 loss in Houston a night earlier, but had muscle tightness during that game, and it continued to bother him during warmups in New Orleans.
That left Rodney Stuckey to lead the way for Detroit, and he carried his team to a 16-point lead in the first half, when he scored 16 of his 26 points. But the Hornets swarmed Stuckey in the fourth quarter and Detroit was unable to respond, shooting 25 percent in the final period (5 of 20).
"We were having trouble with Stuckey all night," West said. "He's a tough, aggressive guard. Those last five minutes we kind of concentrated on him."
"It's very frustrating," Villanueva said. "The second half we gave them a little bit of breathing room and we just collapsed offensively."
While Detroit dominated early, New Orleans performed best in the clutch, hitting all 10 of its free throws in the final quarter and finishing the game on a 17-6 run that began when Stojakovic's 3 tied it at 81 with 3:23 to go.
"Tonight was all about making big-time plays," Hornets coach Jeff Bower said.
After Paul and Ben Wallace exchanged baskets, West hit a layup and an 18-foot fadeaway to give New Orleans the lead for good at 87-83.
Down by 14 early in the second half, the Hornets got back in the game when West hit a pair of fadeaway jumpers during a 7-0 run that made it 59-52. West had 10 points in the period, hitting a layup and a pair of free throws to cut New Orleans' deficit to 69-66 late in the third quarter.
West's driving one-handed jam and layup put New Orleans back in the lead at 76-75 with 8:12 left in the fourth quarter, marking New Orleans' first lead since the first quarter.
With the Hornets committing 14 of their 18 turnovers in the first half, Detroit took the early initiative with a 20-4 run in the second quarter, during which the Hornets went 5:50 without scoring a point until West's putback of Darren Collison's miss made it 49-35.
Daye hit a pair of 3s during the spurt, which Villanueva capped with seven straight points on a 3, a mid-range jumper and layup to make it 49-33, and Detroit led 55-42 at halftime.
- Two plays were reviewed by video replay within the final second of the period, starting with Paul's driving layup that was ruled good because of a goaltend, with Chris Wilcox pinning the ball against the backboard as the horn sounded. After that ruling, which cut Detroit's lead to 73-70, officials ordered 0.3 seconds back on the clock. Austin Daye then drained a shot from near half court. Officials waved that shot off, ruling it went up just after the horn, then confirmed the ruling on video review.
- The Hornets have won seven of their last eight at home.
- Reggie Bush, who is Paul's neighbor in a downtown high-rise, sat courtside next to Paul's brother, C.J.