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West scores 27, lifts Hornets over Rockets 102-94

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — David West scored 27 points, including four in the final 2 minutes, to lift the New Orleans Hornets to a 102-94 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.

Darren Collison added 26 points, the fifth straight game he's had 24 or more. His driving floater with 34.6 seconds left put the Hornets up 96-89. He added four free throws and converted a steal into a fast-break layup in the final half-minute.

Morris Peterson scored 15 points for the Hornets, who led by as many as 17 but found themselves clinging to a two-point lead with 2:16 left. West's offensive rebound and dunk helped New Orleans pull away again.

Chase Budinger scored 18 points and Aaron Brooks added 15 for Houston, which has dropped two straight.

Houston was plagued by poor shooting much of the game. Early in the fourth quarter, the Rockets were shooting 36.8 percent (28 of 76), including 5 of 21 from 3-point range.

Houston made 12 of its last 16 shots, including two of four 3s, but found its range too late.

Kevin Martin had 13 points for the Rockets, while Louis Scola added 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Peja Stojakovic had 14 points despite a bad shooting night (5 of 16), and rookie Marcus Thornton added 12 points for the Hornets, who have won two straight.

The Hornets led 74-57 on Stojakovic's jumper in the last minute of the third quarter. Then Collison, who had five turnovers in the third period, turned the ball over twice in the final seconds of the quarter, leading to a putback and a 3, both by Budinger, who got the second shot off with 0.1 seconds on the clock to pull the Rockets to 74-62 heading into the fourth quarter.

Budinger's baskets turned out to be the beginning of a 13-3 run that included six points by Martin, pulling Houston to 77-70.

New Orleans' lead was back to 10 at 89-79 after Collison's driving floater off the glass, but Budinger hit a 3 on the other end, igniting a 9-1 Houston run that cut it to 90-88 on Jared Jeffries' inside basket with 2:16 to go.

West then muscled his way inside to put back Emeka Okafor's miss with an authoritative jam and added a pair of free throws to make it 94-88 with 1:26 left. The Hornets held on from there.

New Orleans took its first double-digit in the second quarter with an 11-2 run sparked by Peterson's reverse layup on a fast break. Thornton capped the surge with a 3, making it 35-22.

Later in the period, Julian Wright tipped in his own miss and threw down Thornton's alley-oop lob during a 6-0 run that gave New Orleans a 47-31 lead.

Houston responded with eight straight points highlighted by Shane Battier's 3, then Thornton hit his second 3 of the quarter to put New Orleans up 50-39 at halftime.

NOTES: Okafor blocked five shots in the first quarter. He finished with six blocks to go with 11 rebounds. ... Collison came in averaging the most assists (8.2) in games started by rookies. He had nine assists against Houston. ... The Hornets are 19-9 at home, while Houston is 13-15 on the road. ... Thornton and Houston reserve guard Garrett Temple, teammates at LSU last season, guarded each other at times. ... New Orleans is 5-5 since All-Star point guard Chris Paul went out for surgery on a meniscus tear in his left knee.