NEW ORLEANS, LA (WAFB) - When the Hornets played in Oklahoma City, David West had a few game-winning shots, but the buzzer-beater he hit Monday night gave his team a nine-game winning streak, as New Orleans beat the Thunder 91-89. The current win-streak marks the longest for the Hornets in three seasons.
West drained a shot with less than a second left on the clock for the victory. He finished with 20 points. Chris Paul led the team in scoring with 24. Former LSU guard Marcus Thornton chipped in 10 points.
A sellout crowd of 17,233 packed the Hive, including actor Samuel L. Jackson. The crowd set the attendance benchmark that keeps the club in the New Orleans Arena for at least another year.
Despite the fan support, the Hornets found themselves down early as it was the Thunder that came out with the momentum, capped off with a 15-point lead at the end of the first quarter. The team then stepped it up in the second quarter, as the New Orleans defense held Oklahoma City to only 12 points.
"It's really been exciting to see our fans come out and support us because we feed off that energy," said Paul. "We picked it up defensively. We gave up 33 points in the first quarter. That's not our defense and it's a really good team we beat over there. We found a way, just like in the last game. We found a way."
Right before the end of the first half, Paul hit a jumper to put the Hornets up by 5. It was only a preview of what would happen later. After a steal by Paul, West hit a 17-footer with 0.5 left in the game to seal the win.
"We get the last one. Didn't want to give them the opportunity to be able to catch it and get any shot off," West said. "Great win. Big shot by D. West. That's D. West. Guys played hard tonight and that's what we need every night from our guys," Thornton added. "When D. West hit that last shot to win the game, all I could do was smile," said Paul.
History shows when Thornton scores in double figures, the Hornets are 10-1. Paul described the atmosphere as being similar to a playoff game. He said this was a big win for New Orleans because Oklahoma City had already won two previous meetings between the two teams this season.
The Hornets will head out on a three-game road trip starting with a Wednesday night matchup against the Golden State Warriors.