Hornets 96, Rockets 90

Monday, November 6th 2006, 3:15 am
By: News On 6

NEW ORLEANS (AP) David West scored 22 points and Chris Paul tied a career high with 16 assists as the New Orleans Hornets beat the Houston Rockets 96-90 in New Orleans.

Peja Stojakovic finished with 16 points for the Hornets, who brought 18,202 fans to their feet in the team's first home opener on Sunday.

Luther Head's short jumper gave the Rockets a 77-76 lead with about nine minutes to go. But the Hornets surged ahead with a 14-3 run that began with Tyson Chandler's rebound and dunk.

Chandler had another putback during the run while reserve Bobby Jackson, who along with Paul had 12 points, added a three-point play on a fast-break layup after he had stolen the ball from Tracy McGrady.

Shane Battier led Houston with 18 points, while Yao Ming finished with 17.

NBA commissioner David Stern attended the game and said the Hornets' full-time return is certain for at least the next couple years as the league monitors the city's rebuilding.