Chris Paul added 15 points, 10 assists and six steals for the Hornets, who improved to a league-best 10-1 despite nearly blowing a 19-point lead. The Cavaliers cut their deficit to as low as three in the fourth quarter before New Orleans hung on for the victory.
Marco Belinelli contributed 20 points and five assists for New Orleans.
Antawn Jamison scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Cleveland, which had a three-game win streak against the Hornets snapped. Jamison, by making three three-pointers, also became the third player in NBA history to record 7,000 rebounds, 900 three-pointers and 17,000 total points, joining Scottie Pippen and Dirk Nowitzki.
Friday also marked the return of former Hornets head coach Byron Scott, who served as the head coach in New Orleans from 2004-10. He was fired last season after the club got off to a 3-6 start last season.
The Hornets held a 78-59 lead after a Trevor Ariza three-point play with 3:44 left in the third, but Cleveland closed the period on a 9-2 burst to make the game manageable heading to the fourth.
Daniel Gibson’s basket on the Cavs’ final possession of the third made it 81-68 heading to the fourth, though New Orleans pushed its lead back to 86-68 following a West three-point play and Willie Green jumper to start the fourth.
New Orleans held a double-digit lead as late as three-minutes remaining, as West’s eight-footer provided a 100-89 margin, but Cleveland scored the next seven points.
Anthony Parker’s three, Anderson Varejao’s tip shot and Jamison’s 16-foot jumper had the Cavaliers within 100-96 with a minute to play, but West gave the Hornets some breathing room with a layup off a Paul pass with 42.9 ticks remaining.
Cleveland got to within three, 104-101, after Jamison was fouled from long range and sank all three free throws with 21.2 seconds left, but Belinelli drilled two from the line on the other end, and Gibson’s missed three-point attempt sealed the outcome.
The Cavs held a 28-26 lead after one quarter, but New Orleans ended the half on an 18-2 run. Cleveland went the last five minutes without a field goal, and the Hornets grabbed a 62-43 lead at halftime.
Cleveland began the second half on a 8-0 surge to get to within 11 before the Hornets stretched the advantage back to 19 on an Ariza three-point play.
Cleveland was the first team to score 100 or more points against New Orleans this season…The Hornets improved to 7-0 at home…Jamison now has 7,007 rebounds, 902 three-pointers and 17,215 points…The Cavs were able to stay in the game by going 32-of-34 from the free throw line…Varejao had a game-high 13 rebounds.