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Phoenix at New Orleans

Paul-led Hornets dismantle Suns, halt season-high skid at three

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW ORLEANS -- At this rate, the New Orleans Hornets can only hope to meet the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs.

Chris Paul had 25 points, 15 assists and three steals to help the Hornets end a three-game losing streak with a 120-103 victory over Phoenix on Wednesday night.

"Enough is enough," Paul said. "We were on a losing streak and we came out with a different mentality, but we've got to come out with that mentality every night."

It was the second time this season the Hornets snapped a three-game skid with a victory over Phoenix, which New Orleans has beaten in all four meetings this season.

"We match up with them pretty well," said Hornets forward David West, who scored 27 points. "C.P. and our guards have an advantage over their guards with their speed and ability to get up and down the floor. ... It just happens that Phoenix is one of those teams that we feel confident against."

Reserve guard Jannero Pargo scored 22 and Peja Stojakovic 17 for New Orleans, which shot 53 percent in avoiding its first four-game losing streak this season.

The Suns continued to struggle since trading Shawn Marion for Shaquille O'Neal, but they couldn't blame their third loss in five games solely on the veteran 7-foot-1 center, who had 15 points and seven rebounds.

"We are still learning what we have to do to win games. We'll be fine," O'Neal said. "We just caught a team that was called out by their coach and they played very well."

Phoenix fell apart defensively in the second half in the face of the Hornets' combination of up-tempo offense and good perimeter shooting. The Hornets were 8-of-15 from 3-point range while outscoring Phoenix 16-12 on the fastbreak and 40-36 inside.

"In the third quarter they just didn't miss or we couldn't guard, one of the other," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I don't think anybody has an answer for (Paul), but it was the other guys who killed us. ... Chris is going to get his and there's nothing anyone is going to do about it. It's the other guys ... like David West and Stojakovic."

Or Hornets center Tyson Chandler, who hadn't notched a double-double in his previous four outings. He awoke from that slump with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Even when matched with the bigger, stronger O'Neal, Chandler willed his way inside for follow-up dunks on teammates' misses and threw down several alley-oop jams.

"I don't feel like I took a beating at all. I feel like I was dishing out the punishment," Chandler said, only half-joking. "It was great win for us. I felt like we had great team defense tonight. We played with great chemistry out there."

Amare Stoudemire led Phoenix with 32 points and 14 rebounds. Leandro Barbosa scored 17 points, hitting five 3-pointers, Raja Bell had 14 points and Steve Nash 13 assists.

New Orleans shot nearly 70 percent in the third quarter and opened a 20-point lead. West hit a jump hook to start it off, then Paul hit a jumper and a 3 before feeding Chandler on the first of two alley-oop dunks in the period.

Morris Peterson, who finished with 11 points, hit all four of his shots in the quarter, including a 3-pointer. Stojakovic closed out the period with a leaner off the glass as he was fouled, putting New Orleans ahead 97-77 heading into the final period.

Stoudemire hit a pair of straightaway jumpers to open the fourth quarter, but Pargo responded with his third 3-pointer, and New Orleans maintained a comfortable lead the rest of the way.

Superb 3-point shooting helped the Suns take an early eight-point lead as Barbosa's first three shots were 3s. Bell, Stoudemire and Linton Johnson all made one as well, as Phoenix started 6-of-7 from long distance.

The Hornets came back when Pargo, who had 16 points in the half, and Stojakovic each hit a pair of 3s in the second quarter. The last by Stojakovic gave the Hornets a 53-51 lead.

Paul later fed Chandler on a fast break for a soaring tomahawk jam that energized the sellout crowd, and the Hornets led 59-55 at halftime.

Notes

  • Bonzi Wells sat out with a bruised Achilles' tendon. He has played twice since the Hornets acquired him in a trade last week.
  • Attendance was 17,931, the Hornets' second sellout in four home games since the All-Star break.
  • O'Neal, a former LSU star, was cheered during introductions and said he was happy to see a big crowd. "It's coming along," O'Neal said of New Orleans' recovery from Hurricane Katrina. "Business is picking back up, downtown is nice, All-Star (weekend) was a success and in a couple more years New Orleans will be right back on top, where it used to be."
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Chris Paul -- 25 points, 15 assists and three steals -- and his 'enough is enough' mentality get it done.  (AP)
Chris Paul -- 25 points, 15 assists and three steals -- and his 'enough is enough' mentality get it done. (AP)

Scoreboard
Phoenix (39-19) 29262226103
New Orleans (38-18) «25343823120
PHO:A. Stoudemire 32 Pts
PHO:A. Stoudemire 14 Reb
PHO:S. Nash 13 Ast
NO:D. West 27 Pts
NO:T. Chandler 15 Reb
NO:C. Paul 15 Ast
Players of the Game
New OrleansPhoenix

C. Paul

A. Stoudemire
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
2561532144
Phoenix
R. Bell, SG395-122-212114
A. Stoudemire, C3711-199-10144432
S. O'Neal, C326-103-471215
S. Nash, PG311-66-801308
G. Hill, SG274-102-231010
L. Barbosa, PG275-92-423617
L. Johnson, PF242-50-07155
B. Diaw, SF221-20-02322
D. Strawberry, SG20-00-00000
E. Piatkowski, SGDid Not Play
S. Marks, CDid Not Play
B. Skinner, PFDid Not Play
A. Tucker, SFDid Not Play
Totals 35-7324-30362820103
 47.9%80.0% 
New Orleans
D. West, PF3911-225-641427
P. Stojakovic, SG386-123-343117
C. Paul, PG369-215-6615225
T. Chandler, C316-70-0152512
M. Peterson, SG215-50-021011
J. Pargo, PG309-151-112522
M. James, PG121-42-21114
H. Armstrong, PF120-00-00110
R. Bowen, SF101-20-00012
R. Butler, SG60-10-01020
M. Ely, C50-10-02000
J. Wright, SF20-00-00000
B. Wells, SGDid Not Play
Totals 48-9016-18362622120
 53.3%88.9% 
Other Games
Sac 117 Final
Atl 123
Chi 113 Final
Ind 107
Orl 89 Final
Phi 101
Min 85 Final
Tor 107
Cle 87 Final
Bos 92
Char 89 Final
NY 113
Det 95 Final
Utah 103
Den 138 Final
Sea 96
Port 82 Final
LAC 80