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New Orleans Overcomes Star's Loss To Pull Away Late, 96-81

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – David West dropped 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds as New Orleans overcame the loss of Chris Paul in the third quarter and rallied past Cleveland, 96-81, at Quicken Loans Arena.

Marco Belinelli notched 18 points while Emeka Okafor and Willie Green each scored 10 for the Hornets, who won their second straight game.

Paul had 13 points and 11 assists before he was carted off the court following a head-on collision. Jarrett Jack came in to replace the All-Star guard and scored 12 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.

“I think it says a lot about the group, about D West and his leadership,” Hornets head coach Monty Williams said. “He doesn’t get a lot of recognition for that because he’s not a rah-rah guy. Also, Jarrett Jack. I pulled him to the side and said, ‘OK, let’s go’ and we didn’t miss a beat.”

Baron Davis had 17 points and six assists in his debut in front of the home crowd. J.J. Hickson and Ramon Sessions each had 15 points for the Cavaliers, who have lost three of their last four games.

“The fans are great here,” Davis said. “I’ve been dying to play in front of this crowd. The fans have been great. With them standing up and the ovation like that, it just makes me want to play my hardest and win as many games as we can with this organization.”

Hickson also had 10 rebounds and Samardo Samuels chipped in with 11 points and eight boards in defeat.

With 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, Paul collided with Sessions’ right shoulder during a loose ball scramble and laid still on the floor for several minutes. He was finally carted off the court with extreme precaution around his head and neck area, but he was moving his extremities and gave the crowd a thumbs up. The six-year pro out of Wake Forest was taken to the local hospital for further evaluation.

At that point of the game, the Hornets were down 61-60.

However, the Hornets rallied together to go on a 13-2 run finished by Okafor’s putback layup. Davis ended the quarter with a half-court shot, making up the 73-66 score heading into the final frame.

New Orleans continued to stay hot in the fourth, scoring the first seven points to build an 80-60 lead. The margin stayed at 20, 96-76, with 2:19 left on Green’s floater and the Hornets cruised from there.

Trailing 27-24 after the first quarter, Cleveland scored the first seven points in the second to take a 31-27 lead. The Hornets came back to regain the edge, though, following Belinelli’s jumper and Paul’s bankshot runner with three ticks left for a 51-48 advantage at the break.

New Orleans shot 52 percent from the field while Cleveland struggled, making just 37 percent of its shots…The Hornets scored 40 points in the paint to the Cavs’ 22…New Orleans improved to 16-19 as the guest this season.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.