NEW ORLEANS The New Orleans Hornets two best players did everything they could down the stretch to guarantee a victory against the reeling Pistons.
By that time, Detroit s two marquee players were nowhere near the court.
David West had 30 points, Chris Paul scored 20 and added 13 assists and the duo combined for 23 of the Hornets 25 points in the fourth quarter of a 90-87 victory Wednesday night.
With the Hornets protecting an 88-87 lead in the final minute, Paul missed two runners in the lane, but West tipped the first rebound to himself and grabbed the second one cleanly, hitting two free throws after being fouled with 6.7 seconds left.
Walter Hermann missed a 3-pointer from the wing that would have forced overtime as the Pistons lost for the eighth consecutive time, their longest skid in 14 seasons. Richard Hamilton scored a team-high 24 points.
I ve said I m happy to come off the bench as long as we re winning, Hamilton said. But we re losing. We re now 4-12 with me coming the bench. Something s got to change.
Detroit ended the game without Allen Iverson or Rasheed Wallace.
Iverson aggravated a back strain he sustained in Tuesday night s loss to Miami. He started and shot 1-of-4 before leaving late in the first quarter. Wallace was ejected with 7:55 left in the fourth quarter after picking up his second technical foul in 27 seconds.
They were his 15th and 16th technicals of the season, meaning he will be suspended automatically for the Pistons game at Orlando on Friday.
The Hornets have won two in a row after a two-game losing streak.
We talked about trying to put together a string of games where we can run off some wins and get some momentum, West said. We knew they were going to come in and play tough and play aggressive. We were able to come in and play with the type of intensity we need to carry throughout the rest of the year.
Wallace s blowup helped the Hornets go on a 7-0 run and take a 78-71 lead. He was called for his first technical after arguing that Sean Marks had gone over his back to tip a rebound to West for a putback. The next time down the court, he fouled West, went to the bench and was sent to the locker room when he tossed the towel over his head while West was at the free-throw line.
Pistons coach Michael Curry said Iverson s status would be evaluated after trainers examined him. Wallace was unavailable for comment.
I tried to get him out before he got it, Curry said. Hes an emotional guy. We got unraveled a little bit.
Still, the Pistons had a chance to end their losing streak without their two stars. Jason Maxiell scored on a putback to tie the score at 82 with 2:52 left. Paul scored the Hornets next six points, but Hamilton s baseline shot drew Detroit within 88-87 with 55.4 seconds left, setting up the Hornets long final possession.
Center Tyson Chandler had a season-high 17 rebounds in his first game at home since a failed physical aborted a trade to Oklahoma City. He had not played at the New Orleans Arena since Jan. 17, when he sprained an ankle against the Indiana Pacers, and the crowd gave him a loud ovation when the starting lineups were introduced. He scored the first basket of the game on a tip-in and helped hold Wallace to one point in the first half.
The Hornets outrebounded the Pistons 51-38.
He (Chandler) gives us the opportunity to get second-chance points, all the little things we ve been missing since he has been out, Hornets coach Byron Scott said. We are a better defensive and rebounding team when he is in there.
The Pistons were lethargic early, scoring 13 points on 6-of-20 shooting in the first quarter and trailing 24-13 in the second. They weren t much better defensively, allowing Stojakovic to follow his own missed outside shot, grab the rebound and make an uncontested layup.
But with Paul taking his customary rest at the start of the second quarter, the Hornets fell silent offensively and Detroit went on a 12-2 run to tie the score at 28. Hamilton hit two 3-pointers and had 12 points in the first seven minutes of the quarter.
Notes: Detroit last lost eight in a row from Dec. 21, 1994 to Jan. 8, 1995, a year they went 28-54. ... Paul had 3 points in the first half and 7 after three quarters. The Hornets swept their 2-game series with the Pistons a year after getting swept by Detroit.