Chandler in charge as Hornets go 5-1 on East road swing

MIAMI (AP) -- Tyson Chandler was perfect, and the New Orleans Hornets finished off a nearly perfect road trip.

Chandler was 10-for-10 from the floor, and his 20-point, 10-rebound effort helped the Hornets remain atop the Western Conference standings with a 106-77 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

David West scored 22 points and Chris Paul added 14 points and 10 assists for the Hornets, who finished 5-1 on their six-game road trip through the East. It was also the 25th road win for the Hornets, topping what was the franchise record set 11 seasons ago.

"It was one of those games that could have been a letdown, one of those teams that teams can overlook," Chandler said.

He wasn't going to let that happen.

Chandler was 6-for-6 in the opening 7 1/2 minutes as the Hornets ran out to a 21-9 lead. They never trailed, and put away the game with a 19-3 run midway through the fourth quarter.

"We control our own destiny," Paul said. "We definitely showed a lot of poise and a lot of concentration and we got it done."

Chris Quinn finished with 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for Miami, which lost its fifth straight. The Heat are 5-42 since Christmas, and now at 13-62 overall, they need to go 3-4 in the season's final seven games merely to avoid matching the worst mark in franchise history.

"We made a very spirited comeback ... and then we couldn't get a shot to drop," Heat coach Pat Riley said.

Miami hung with New Orleans until the fourth, but simply didn't have an answer for Chandler -- who put together the best shooting game of his NBA career. He had an 8-for-8 effort on Dec. 17 against Portland and was 8-for-9 on four other occasions.

Peja Stojakovic hit a pair of 3-pointers during New Orleans' game-deciding run in the fourth, and finished with 12 points.

Blake Ahearn scored 15 points and Daequan Cook added 12 for Miami. Joel Anthony added a career-best 12 rebounds for the Heat.

Meanwhile, as Chandler and the Hornets took care of the undermanned Heat, most of Miami's best players headed up to the Heat's executive offices at halftime and the early portions of the third quarter -- manning a phone bank as prospective season-ticket buyers called in about the 2008-09 season.

Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, Jason Williams and Shawn Marion were among the injured Heat players working their sales magic.

"This is D-Wade. Who is this?" is how Wade began one conversation with a man who wound up buying seats. "Just tell me one thing. Just tell me you're going to be back next year to watch us come back and get back to our winning ways, get back to the playoffs and get back to competing for a championship."

Before the deal got done, Wade even engaged the caller in some draft conversation -- but didn't reveal the name of the player he wants running alongside him next year.

"He's still in the tournament," was the only hint Wade would offer.

(Hmmm. Memphis point guard Derrick Rose, anyone?)

"These people make an incredible investment in us," Riley said. "But I also think they know we have a track record and while there have been some down years here, we've turned it around real quick and were able to give them back value. They didn't get it this year, for a lot of reasons."

Heat fans who were there Wednesday night got some value, at least for a little while.

The Hornets led by as many as 16 in the first half before taking a 54-41 lead into intermission, and New Orleans stretched the margin to 20 by opening the third quarter on a 9-2 run.

But the Heat roared back.

Quinn -- even while being guarded by Paul, one of the league's MVP candidates -- had 11 points and three assists in a 7 1/2-minute stretch of the third, and his 3-pointer with 1:43 left in the period capped a 23-7 Miami run that got the Heat within 70-66.

In the end, New Orleans simply had too much, closing the game on a 36-11 spurt.

West hit two jumpers near the end of the quarter, and Chandler's hook shot with 8:32 left -- his ninth make in as many attempts -- gave New Orleans an 80-67 lead, and the Hornets kept pulling away.

"We are a lot tougher than people give us credit for," Hornets coach Byron Scott said.

Game notes
Riley will likely learn Monday that he's been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and already seems humbled by the notion. "I don't belong there. But if it happens, I'll be there," said Riley, a seven-time NBA champion. ... New Orleans had no turnovers in the first half, then committed three in the opening 4:57 of the third quarter. ... An update from the everything-must-go department: The Shaquille O'Neal and Antoine Walker replica Heat jerseys, which were heavily discounted a few weeks ago at $20 apiece, are now two for $20.