New Orleans (36-28) at Cleveland (12-49)

By NOEY KUPCHAN, STATS Writer Saturday, Mar 5, 2011 Tipoff: 6:30 pm EST Sun Mar 6, 2011

Coming off their first road win in nearly four months, the Cleveland Cavaliers return home and hope their momentum carries over against the New Orleans Hornets.

It has been just as long since the Cavs’ last back-to-back victories, but they’ll look to change that Sunday night against a Hornets team that could be without leading scorer David West(notes).

Cleveland (12-49), which hasn’t won consecutive games since a three-game run Nov. 5-9, has split its last eight games after registering a 119-115 win at New York on Friday night - its first road victory since a Nov. 9 win at New Jersey.

The Cavaliers averaged 94.4 points during their NBA-record 26-game losing streak, but they rank among the league’s best with 109.1 points per game since Feb. 11, when they snapped that skid with an overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Baron Davis(notes), making his Cavaliers debut after missing three games with a sore left knee, scored 12 of his 18 points in the final eight minutes Friday to help erase a 12-point deficit.

“It says a lot about our team’s character that we were down, we weren’t playing our best, and we were playing against a team that has been playing pretty well and we just kept fighting until we got the victory,” said coach Byron Scott.

Davis, who was acquired from the Clippers prior to the trade deadline, spent five-plus seasons with the Hornets after he was drafted No. 3 overall in 1999. He is averaging 19.3 points against his former team - tied for his most against any opponent.

Cleveland’s J.J. Hickson(notes) had 23 points Friday and has scored at least 22 in three of his last four games while averaging 11.5 rebounds over that span.

New Orleans (36-28), meanwhile, could be without West after the two-time All-Star sprained his left ankle in the first quarter of Friday night’s 98-91 win at Memphis.

West, averaging 18.8 points, was unable to return and it’s unclear if he’ll be available against Cleveland. Trevor Ariza’s(notes) status is also uncertain after he was held out against the Grizzlies with a strained groin.

With West on the sidelines for most of the game, Chris Paul(notes) recorded his highest scoring output in over a month with 23 points, adding 14 assists to help the Hornets snap a three-game losing streak.

Paul, averaging 15.9 points, had been limited to 5.7 on 24.1 percent shooting in his previous three games, and thinks that New Orleans - which ranks among the bottom five in the league with 94.6 points per game - could be better suited to playing at a faster pace.

“I was able to get into the lane and create a little bit. We picked up the tempo,” said Paul. “When we play at that type of tempo, that’s the kind of game we need to play, and the kind of game we all can thrive in.”

The Hornets sat in third place in the Western Conference on Jan. 26, but have since lost 12 of 17 and are fighting for what once seemed like a sure playoff berth.

New Orleans defeated Cleveland 108-101 on Nov. 19 to snap a three-game slide in the series as Paul had 15 points, 10 assists and six steals while West recorded a season-best 34 points and 11 rebounds.

West is averaging 23.4 points - 7.1 more than his career mark - in his last eight meetings with the Cavaliers.

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Sunday, Mar 6