NEW ORLEANS – The announcement of an NBA takeover only seemed to help the New Orleans Hornets' performance on the court.
David West scored 25 points, Chris Paul had 14 assists and the Hornets won their first game since the league announced its impending purchase of the club, 93-74 over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
West had 23 in the first three quarters as the Hornets built a commanding lead that was never threatened in the final period by Detroit, which has lost six of its last seven and dropped to 2-11 on the road.
Marco Belinelli made four 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 22 points, while Emeka Okafor added 14 points as the Hornets earned only their third win in nine games.
Ben Gordon led Detroit with 16 points in a reserve role, while Rodney Stuckey scored 16 and Richard Hamilton 13.
Jac Sperling, the NBA's appointed caretaker of the franchise, had reason to be encouraged by the product on the floor as he sat courtside, along the baseline, next to team president Hugh Weber.
The crowd he saw in the stands was less impressive. Announced attendance was 10,823, lowering the Hornets' average to 14,803 for all of last season and 11 home dates this season combined. If the average attendance for the two seasons falls below 14,735 before the end of January, the club may have the right to invoke an early-exit clause that would allow it to leave the city after this season. If not, the current lease runs through 2014.
The NBA on Monday announced plans to own the club only temporarily until a more permanent buyer, preferably one would keep the team in Louisiana, can be found.
The Hornets at least did their part to keep those who showed up entertained, shooting 50 percent and holding the Pistons to 37.5 percent shooting. New Orleans also outscored Detroit inside 42-28.
Paul never seemed pressed to score with his teammates shooting so well and had only six points. He was active on defense as well with five steals, helping to ignite a Hornets fast break that accounted for 16 points.
West powered a 14-0 run in the third quarter with two baskets inside — once as he was fouled — and a jumper. Belinelli added his fourth 3 of the game during the spurt, which made it 64-44.
Detroit started to cut into the lead with a 7-0 run and later pulled to 70-56 on Gordon's 3. West then hit a jump hook in traffic as he was fouled to make it 73-56 at the end of the third quarter.
Belinelli's first 3-pointer ignited a 9-0 run that erased New Orleans' only deficit of the game. He hit his second 3 during another 9-0 late in the period that made it 22-13.
Rookie Quincy Pondexter pushed New Orleans' lead to 12 with a fast-break dunk and later hit a 3 from the corner to make it 35-24.
Detroit rookie Greg Monroe, playing professionally in his hometown for the first time, made his first field goal on a tip-in that capped a 6-0 surge and pulled Detroit to 35-30.
New Orleans quickly went back up by double digits on a jumper and a 3 by Belinelli, and the Hornets led 44-34 at halftime.
Notes: Paul was held scoreless in the first half, marking the first time this season he had not scored in a half. ... Belinelli had scored 20 points only once previously this season. ... The Hornets (14-7) improved to 9-2 at home this season and play next at home on Friday night against Oklahoma City. ... Detroit finishes a three-game road trip Friday night at Minnesota. ... Monroe bought a suite for his family and a cache of tickets for students and friends from his high school, Helen Cox. Monroe had three points and six rebounds in 22:01. ... Detroit's 34 points marked the lowest halftime score for a Hornets opponent this season.