NBA Game Summary - Houston at New Orleans
(Wednesday, March 19th)
Final Score: New Orleans 90, Houston 69
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Former Rockets swingman Bonzi Wells came off the bench to score 20 of his season-high 25 points in the fourth quarter as New Orleans breezed past Houston, 90-69, at New Orleans Arena.
Chris Paul added 21 points and 10 assists for the Hornets, who have won four of their past five games and leapfrogged Houston in the Southwest Division.
"Oh, it's crazy. This crowd is what fueled us in the second half," Wells said. "They (Rockets) were really taking it to us in the first half. The crowd definitely fueled us to come out here and play hard and play well."
New Orleans now leads the Rockets by one-half game, and also tied the Los Angeles Lakers atop the Western Conference playoff standings.
David West, who missed the Hornets' previous two games with a sprained ankle, returned to score 23 points and pull down 11 rebounds.
Tracy McGrady had 15 points but shot just 6-of-21 from the floor for the Rockets, who have lost two straight after winning the previous 22 games, a franchise-record win streak and the second best run in NBA history.
"We felt after a slow start we were able to adapt to what we wanted to do on the defensive end and limit McGrady," West said. "We threw a few different guys at him to give him different looks. We made his catches difficult and we were aggressive. When we are aggressive on the defense like that, it plays into our hands especially on the defensive end."
Luis Scola and Shane Battier both added 14 points, while Dikembe Mutombo had 10 points and 13 rebounds for Houston.
With the game knotted at 59 entering the fourth quarter, The Hornets went for a knockout blow early. Wells, who was traded by Houston at the trading deadline along with Mike James for Bobby Jackson, opened the stanza with a conventional three-point play and Julian Wright followed with a layup and a jumper to put New Orleans on top, 66-59, with 9:22 remaining.
The Hornets continued to slowly pull away from there and Wells' jumper gave New Orleans an 11-point cushion, 72-61, with 6:31 left.
The Rockets never responded. Wells scored seven straight points in the waning moments to extend the Hornets advantage to 88-67 with just over a minute to go and the New Orleans swingman actually doubled up Houston by himself, 20-10, in the stanza.
"It was a disappointing loss," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "We couldn't do anything in the second half offensively at all. It's hard to win games on the road, especially against a good team like this."
The Rockets stormed out of the gates with great energy and led 24-16 after the opening 12 minutes.
New Orleans played a little better in the second quarter and managed to cut Houston's advantage to five, 44-39, by intermission.
The Hornets continued to chip away in the third quarter and deadlocked things at 59 heading to the final frame.
The Rockets snapped a 12-game road winning streak with the loss and are now 20-12 on the road this season. The last time the Rockets lost on the road was on January 2 at Boston...New Orleans is 26-10 at home this season...The teams split the season series, 2-2.
03/19 23:30:56 ET