NEW ORLEANS — Back-to-back games proved too much for the young and thin Hornets as the Pacers cruised to a 102-84 win over New Orleans on Saturday night.
For the second night in a row, the Hornets had only nine players available, with four players out with an injury and another – starting forward Trevor Ariza – out with an illness.
David West, meanwhile, received boos early in his first game back in the Arena after opting out of his contract with New Orleans this offseason. He answered in the only way he knows how – a solid effort.
West had 14 points and picked up 13 rebounds in leading the Pacers, who also got 20 from New Orleans native Danny Granger.
The Hornets (9-28) paid tribute to West, putting together a video that played between the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second. West appreciated the gesture.
“They warned me,” he said. “They told me about it so I knew it was coming. It was nice. I had some good times, enjoyed myself while I was here. Very appreciative of how I was treated while I was here and embraced by the city.”
Still, it was what happened on the floor that stopped the Hornets from picking up their second consecutive win.
The Pacers (23-12) outrebounded New Orleans by six boards and made 9 of 19 3-pointers while sinking 23 of 32 free throws. New Orleans, meanwhile, shot only 40.7 percent for the game.
“We took a hit tonight,” Hornets forward Solomon Jones said. “It wasn’t there defensively. (The) transition (game) killed us.”
A night after playing hard and tough in a win over reigning NBA champions Dallas, the Hornets spent much of the first half battling with the Pacers.
New Orleans was down only 25-23 after the first quarter and tied the game at 33 on Gustavo Ayon’s 6-foot fade away midway through the second quarter.
But West started a 21-4 run that was ended when former Hornets guard Darren Collison sank a 19-foot jump hook at the buzzer.
In between West’s and Collison’s shots, the Hornets went 2-for-9 with four turnovers.
The win was Indiana’s sixth in a row and third straight by at least 14 points.
“I think we have exhibited killer instinct over these last few games,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “When we have a team down, we’re not letting up, we’re not playing complacent at all. We’re looking to step on their throats and it’s resulting in big wins.”
Jarrett Jack led New Orleans with 18 points and Jones added 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Marco Belinelli had 15 points on 6 of 16 shooting.