NEW ORLEANS – David West and Chris Paul have the Hornets on their first three-game winning streak since before Thanksgiving.
West scored 17 points and New Orleans held on for an 84-77 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
Paul scored 15 points, using a speedy left-to-right dribble on a clutch driving layup off the glass with just under 20 seconds left to give the Hornets an 82-77 lead. Emeka Okafor had 13 points and former Sixer Willie Green added 11 for New Orleans, which saw a lead as large as 13 in the fourth quarter trimmed to three, at 78-75, on Elton Brand's layup with 3:09 to go.
However, the Sixers then missed six straight shots from the field.
Brand led Philadelphia with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Andres Nocioni had 13 points and Jrue Holiday and Marreese Speights each had 12 points.
Poor shooting for much of the game doomed Philadelphia, which was 5 of 23 from 3-point range and finished at 34.1 percent (30 of 88) from the field overall in the face of hustling defense by New Orleans, which has held all three opponents to 81 or fewer points during its current win streak.
The 76ers also played without 7-foot-1 starting center Spencer Hawes, who strained his back in warmups and was replaced by Speights in the lineup.
Philadelphia controlled the game early thanks to Nocioni's 10 first-quarter points. The Sixers went up by as much as nine when Holiday's short turnaround made it 40-31 with less than four minutes to go in the second quarter.
That would be the last points Philadelphia scored until the third quarter, however, as West's free throws began a 12-0 run to close out the first half. West scored six points during the spurt, and Okafor's free throws put the Hornets ahead 43-40 at halftime.
New Orleans then scored the first five points of the second half to go up 48-40 on Belinelli's driving floater off the glass. The Hornets led throughout the third quarter, with Jason Smith's 17-foot jumper giving New Orleans a 68-58 lead heading into the final period.
The lead got as large as 77-64 on Okafor's free throws in the middle of the fourth quarter.
The Sixers then closed the gap with a 9-0 run that included four points from Brand and Jason Kapono's transition 3 to set up a tense finish.
Notes: The Sixers did not say when they expected Hawes to return. ... The crowd included members of Ohio State's football team, who are in New Orleans to play in Tuesday night's Sugar Bowl against Arkansas. Sixers reserve swingman Evan Turner played for the Buckeyes' basketball team. He had seven points against New Orleans. ... Announced attendance was 13,433. ... The Hornets improved to 14-4 at home. ... The Sixers dropped to 5-15 on the road.