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Chicago at New Orleans

Paul bombards Bulls with 37 points to help Hornets rally to victory

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW ORLEANS -- Hornets coach Byron Scott called point guard Chris Paul a Hall of Famer in the making Monday night.

Paul said he wasn't ready for those credentials, but his teammate Tyson Chandler was quick to put him in the race for MVP.

Paul had game highs of 37 points and 13 assists in New Orleans' 108-97 victory against the Chicago Bulls.

He made an open 3-pointer with 2:47 left in the fourth quarter to tie it 96-all. After a steal by Jannero Pargo on the next possession, Paul found Chandler for a thundering alley-oop dunk to give the Hornets their first lead since halftime.

"It was all Chris Paul," said Chandler, who finished with eight points. "The little man was all over the floor. It was incredible. It's one of the best performances I've seen from him yet. He, at least to me, made his bid (Monday night) to consider him the MVP."

Paul's shooting touch kept the Hornets in the game as they trailed throughout almost the entire second half. He finished the game 15-for-21 from the floor. Paul also had three steals and only two turnovers.

Bonzi Wells, who scored 19 points, added two free throws and a dunk in the next two possessions to seal the Hornets' victory.

New Orleans outscored Chicago 33-13 in the fourth quarter.

Peja Stojakovic added 21 points for the Hornets, but made only six of 19 3-point attempts. Rookie Julian Wright added 14 points for New Orleans.

Ben Gordon came off the bench to score 31 points for Chicago, but he knew Paul deserved the kudos.

"He took the game over single-handedly," Gordon said. "Every basket he made, they needed it to win."

While Gordon sank shots from around the perimeter, Drew Gooden did so from near the paint. He had 23 points and 12 rebounds.

Larry Hughes and Luol Deng each ended up with 16 points for Chicago.

The Bulls opened the second half on a 14-4 run capped by Hughes' 3-pointer from the corner to put Chicago up 64-55 with 7:37 remaining in the third quarter. The Bulls ended the quarter up 84-75.

"The third quarter we started out with a couple of turnovers and coach really got on us about that," Paul said. "We gave up 34 points. We knew if we were going to have a chance we'd have to be aggressive in the fourth."

New Orleans ended the game on a 24-4 run in the final 7:01.

"That's two games in a row where we controlled the game for pretty much three quarters, and then somehow, something happens and again we get outscored by 20 points in the fourth quarter," Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan said. "It's tough."

Paul's layup through traffic with 5.6 seconds left in the first half gave New Orleans a 51-50 lead. A tip-in by Gooden was at first allowed as time expired, but was overturned after video review.

It was the last time the Hornets held a lead until Paul's dominance in the final 12 minutes.

"I usually never start the fourth quarter, but I went up to coach and said, 'Coach, let me stay,' " Paul said. "Some games he does it and some games he doesn't. Being down nine or 11 going into the fourth, that for our team to have a chance that I needed to be out there."

Notes

  • Hornets F David West missed his third consecutive game with a sprained right ankle.
  • Bulls G Chris Duhon didn't make the trip to New Orleans because of flulike symptoms, but could return to the team for a shootaround Tuesday when the Bulls return to Chicago. Duhon has been in some hot water recently after his comments concerning his sleeping through the Bulls' shootaround Sunday. This coming after Duhon never played in the Bulls' past three games.
  • Chicago wore green jerseys in honor of St. Patrick's Day.
  • LSU football coach Les Miles and Saints running back Reggie Bush attended the game. Miles sat next to Hornets owner George Shinn. Bush attended the game with girlfriend Kim Kardashian.
  • Referee Bennett Salvatore worked the 1,500th game of his career Monday night. Only three other current referees (Dick Bavetta, Joey Crawford and Jack Nies) have more tenure than Salvatore.
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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MVP candidate Chris Paul leads the Hornets' late rally with a game-high 37 points against the Bulls.  (AP)
MVP candidate Chris Paul leads the Hornets' late rally with a game-high 37 points against the Bulls. (AP)
Scoreboard
Chicago (26-40) 2723341397
New Orleans (45-21) «27242433108
CHI:B. Gordon 31 Pts
CHI:D. Gooden 12 Reb
CHI:K. Hinrich 5 Ast
NO:C. Paul 37 Pts
NO:T. Chandler 11 Reb
NO:C. Paul 13 Ast
Players of the Game
New OrleansChicago

C. Paul

B. Gordon
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
374133124

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Chicago
L. Deng, SF436-144-672416
L. Hughes, SG397-150-124516
D. Gooden, PF358-177-8122323
J. Noah, PF332-30-04034
K. Hinrich, PG160-60-04530
B. Gordon, SG3310-176-724031
T. Sefolosha, SG141-41-24124
T. Thomas, PF130-23-42113
A. Gray, C90-00-23000
A. Nocioni, SF50-10-00020
C. Duhon, PGDid Not Play
J. Curry, PGDid Not Play
D. Nichols, SFDid Not Play
S. Brown, PGDid Not Play
C. Simmons, SFDid Not Play
Totals 34-7921-3040192397
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P. Stojakovic, SG456-196-6102221
T. Chandler, C433-82-411048
C. Paul, PG4215-215-7413137
M. Peterson, SG242-50-24004
R. Bowen, SF110-30-02030
B. Wells, SG276-137-842319
J. Pargo, PG242-51-12455
J. Wright, SF196-81-140414
M. Ely, C50-00-01010
M. James, PGDid Not Play
C. Andersen, PFDid Not Play
R. Butler, SGDid Not Play
D. West, PFDid Not Play
H. Armstrong, PFDid Not Play
Totals 40-8222-29422123108
 48.8%75.9% 
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