ORLANDO, Fla. – David West scored a career-high 34 points and Chris Paul added 21, leading the New Orleans Hornets to a 98-95 victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.

New Orleans won despite missing center P.J. Brown and guards J.R. Smith and Speedy Claxton. Brown, attending his mother-in-law’s funeral, missed his second consecutive game. Smith missed his fourth straight game due to a sprained left ankle, and Claxton sat out his second in a row with a sprained right ankle.

Hedo Turkoglu and Keyon Dooling had 22 points apiece for Orlando. Dwight Howard had 16 points and 17 rebounds for his seventh straight double-double.

After Paul scored a fastbreak basket to put New Orleans ahead 90-86, Steve Francis made it a one-point game on a 3-pointer with 1:02 left. Paul responded with his own 3 to extend the Hornets’ lead to 93-89 with 41.8 seconds to go.

After a defensive stop, West hit a pair of free throws to make it 95-91 lead with 28.6 seconds remaining. Paul also hit a two free throws down the stretch.

New Orleans converted 15 of 20 free throw attempts in the fourth. The Magic did not go to the line in the period.

West scored 20 points – four more than his career-best – in the first half as the Hornets took a 48-43 halftime lead. The advantage might have been bigger, but New Orleans went 6-of-14 from the foul line.

Francis, who finished with 21 points, and Turkoglu had eight points each in the third, helping the Magic go up 70-68.

Dooling scored nine points, including a three-point play, as Orlando used a 15-1 run to take a 32-28 advantage 3 minutes into the second.

Notes: The Hornets (4-5) didn’t get their fourth win last season until Jan. 11, in their 33rd game. … Magic F Grant Hill (sports hernia) has resumed light jogging. He is not expected back until at least mid-December.

AP-ES-11-19-05 2152EST


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