Published November 20, 2014
The Hornets enjoyed the services of West for eight years until he became an unrestricted free agent last June, when he declined his player option for the 2011-12 campaign. West, a two-time All-Star, posted averages of 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds over 530 games, including 438 starts with the Hornets.
Now West will face his former team for the first time when he leads the Indiana Pacers into tonight's showdown at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. West had his 2010-11 campaign cut short in late March with a torn medial collateral ligament, but is now back at full strength and posting 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game with his new employer.
"I don't have any hard feelings," West told the Indianapolis Star. "I enjoyed my time in New Orleans. It's one of the most unique places to live in the United States. I definitely enjoyed that."
West had 14 points and eight rebounds in Sunday's 108-733 blowout of Charlotte in the second portion of a three-game homestand, while All-Star Roy Hibbert led the charge with 18 points and 14 boards for the Pacers, winners of two straight after a five-game losing streak. Danny Granger and Tyler Hansbrough scored 14 and 13 points, respectively. Indiana shot 50 percent for the game and led by as many as 44 points en route to its widest margin of victory since a 51-point blowout of Chicago on March 28, 2003 (140-89).
"It's good to get a win like this," said Hibbert. "It shows if we're tied together on defense early in the game, we can get out to big wins."
The Pacers improved to 9-4 at home this season and will play five of their next seven games on the road. They had 22 assists against the Bobcats and are 10-1 when recording 20 or more assists this season. Indiana is 12-2 when scoring between 90-99 points and 6-1 when hitting the century mark. Guard George Hill missed his 11th consecutive game with a chip fracture in his left ankle and is still out indefinitely. Hill has been able to practice somewhat on the limb and continues to ice the injury.
New Orleans had dropped eight in row before a season-high three-game winning, but plummeted back into the loss column with Monday's 101-93 loss to the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder in the third installment of a six-game road trip.
Former Pacer Jarrett Jack scored 18 points and Greivis Vasquez netted 15 for the Hornets, who are 4-10 away from the Big Easy this season and last in the Southwest Division. Al-Farouq Aminu posted 14 points and Chris Kaman 12 in a losing effort. New Orleans made just 36.3 percent of its shots, but did sink 7-of-14 from beyond the arc.
"As we always do we hung in there. It's tough when you play against a team like the Thunder who has a lot of rhythm," Hornets head coach Monty Williams said on the team's website. "I felt our guys kind of hung their heads a little in the first half but I never feel like I'm out of it, but it's hard to inject that into other people."
The Hornets will also make stops in Cleveland and Chicago on the trek and split a home-and-home series with Indiana a season ago. New Orleans has won six of seven meetings with the Pacers.