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West has big second half as Pacers rally to beat Hornets

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Associated Press
12/22/2012 11:27:32 PM
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NEW ORLEANS -- David West made himself right at home -- at the New Orleans Hornets' expense.

The former Hornets forward scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Indiana Pacers overcame a 22-point deficit to beat New Orleans 81-75 on Saturday night, handing the Hornets their 11th straight loss.

"As a group we felt that we had to get our legs back," West said. "We came out struggling in that first half. I thought the team did a good job of just gaining our composure and getting a little more focused defensively (in the second half)."

West made nine of his final 11 shots, including late baskets that helped seal the victory.

"He really took over the game made unguardable shots," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "It was reminiscent of Dirk Nowitzki, with his fadeaway. He really just willed us, willed our team to a win."

Paul George steadied Indiana in the first half with 11 points, and finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds to help the Pacers win for the seventh time in eight games.

Robin Lopez had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, stuck in their worst stretch since December 2004. Greivis Vasquez added 14 points, and Anthony Davis had 10 for the Hornets.

After the Hornets took a 46-24, the Pacers outscored them 57-29 -- including 24-7 in the third quarter.

"We didn't really understand the moment," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "When your starters don't have it, you expect somebody to come in from the bench and give you a little boost and we didn't get that tonight. I thought we played not to lose instead of playing to win. It's a tough one to swallow."

Davis, who was guarded by West for much of the game, was 5 of 14 from the field. Late in the third quarter, Davis had scored four points on 2-of-8 shooting

The Hornets, playing at home for the first time after a grueling four-game trip, led 70-69 with 3:13 left in the fourth quarter, but the Pacers scored seven consecutive points, four coming from West.

"It's one of those things where our focus was to come out and we played a good first half, but in the second half we just didn't make many shots," Hornets guard Austin Rivers said. "We came out flat in the second half and to sum it all up you have to come out and play a full 48 minutes, not just one half."

New Orleans cut the deficit to 75-73 on Vasquez's three-point play, but Lance Stephenson scored off an offensive rebound and West added a turnaround jumper to secure the win.

The Hornets were 13 of 42 from the field in the second half, and had only seven free throws -- making five -- in the game.

"We couldn't get to the line," Williams said. "The NBA is cruel that way. We have to own it and move forward."

NOTES: West scored his 10,000th career point midway through the third quarter. ... Indiana improved to 16-12, and New Orleans dropped to 5-22.

David West (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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