NEW ORLEANS – Kevin Martin scored 33 points and the Houston Rockets won their fourth straight, 91-89 over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday.
Kyle Lowry added 18 points for the Rockets, who overcame a 16-point, second-half deficit and made 11 3-pointers in the game, four each by Martin and Lowry. Martin was 13 of 13 on free throws, hitting two key foul shots with 18.4 seconds left to give Houston a 90-87 lead.
Willie Green's attempted 3-pointer to tie it rimmed out and Courtney Lee secured the rebound with 5 seconds left, then made one free throw to essentially secure the victory.
David West had 20 points and Chris Paul had 12 assists for New Orleans, which lost for the first time in three games since the All-Star break.
Chuck Hayes grabbed 11 rebounds for Houston, including six on the offensive end. The Rockets had 13 offensive rebounds and 16 second-chance points.
Hayes' final offensive rebound led to Brad Miller's inside basket as he was fouled to put Houston ahead 83-80 with 4:11 left.
After New Orleans had tied it at 85, Hayes got free underneath and scored as he was fouled to put Houston back up 88-85 with 2:08 left.
West pulled the Hornets to 88-87 and New Orleans had a chance to regain the lead after Emeka Okafor's block, but Green was unable to handle a pass from West. The Hornets got another stop, but Trevor Ariza's go-ahead 3-point attempt missed the rim.
Down 58-42 early in the third quarter, Houston trimmed its deficit to 10 by the end of the period, then surged ahead with 14-2 run highlighted by four 3s, two by Martin and one each by Lowry and Lee.
Miller's jumper capped the surge, giving Houston an 80-78 lead with 6:58 to go and setting up a tense finish to a game that had 10 lead changes and nine ties.
Marco Belinelli had 14 points for the Hornets and former Rockets Ariza and Carl Landry each scored 13 points for New Orleans, while Green added 10. Okafor grabbed 14 rebounds.
The Hornets outshot Houston, 47.4 percent to 41.9 percent, but New Orleans was 4 of 13 from 3-point range and was outrebounded 41-37.
The Rockets got to the arena behind schedule because their downtown hotel was on a Mardi Gras parade route and they had no police escort. Their first bus needed an hour to make what is normally a 10-minute drive, while the second bus, which left the hotel a little later, needed about 45 minutes.
That had little effect on Martin, who'd scored 30 in each of his previous two games and continued his torrid pace in New Orleans. Martin scored 10 points in the first eight minutes and 15 in the first half.
But after Martin's three free throws gave Houston a 33-31 lead, New Orleans surged in front with an 18-0 run that included a streak of eight made field goals and solid defense highlighted by blocks by Okafor, Quincy Pondexter and Ariza.
Belinelli scored eight during the surge, hitting two 3s. West, who had 14 points in the first half, had six points during the run, which Ariza capped with a fast-break layup to make it 49-33.
Paul later added his eighth and ninth assists of the half on Landry's dunk and Ariza's fast-break layup, giving the Hornets a 55-40 lead heading into the locker room.
Notes: The Hornets fell to 1-11 when an opponent hits 10 or more 3-pointers. ... Paul was called for a technical foul by official Dick Bavetta for arguing a non-call. West immediately claimed Paul in fact was trying to call an offensive play, but Bavetta shot back: "I know what he said!" ... The Hornets fell to 2-1 vs. Houston this season. ... Houston improved to 14-18 on the road. ... The Hornets will play their next five games on the road and won't play in New Orleans again until Ash Wednesday, March 9, the day after the Mardi Gras parade season ends.