Paul capped a 20-point performance with a turnaround fadeaway with 12.6 seconds left, and the New Orleans Hornets handed undermanned Golden State its seventh straight loss, 108-102 on Wednesday night.
Emeka Okafor had 10 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans, which relied on its height advantage in the front court to outrebound Golden State 52-38, with 18 offensive rebounds leading to 22 second-chance points. David West scored 14 points and Peja Stojakovic had 13 to help the Hornets (13-14) pull within a game of .500 heading into a two-day Christmas break.
"We just tried to take advantage of them inside," Paul said. "That is why we tried to get the ball into D-West and Emeka."
Ellis led all scorers with 35 points, repeatedly slashing to the hoop and tossing in tough shots, keeping the Warriors close until the end.
"He's one of the best one-on-one players in the league. You know he's going to get his shots," West said. "In the league, some guys are going to have big nights, but our main objective is to get a win."
Curry had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and the Warriors were as close as 104-102 in the final half-minute.
"I can't ask for anything more out of this team," said Warriors coach Don Nelson, whose club had lost in Memphis a night earlier. "They gave everything they had on a back-to-back. I'm really proud of them. I thought the game was there for us if we just could have made shots down the stretch."
Warriors center Anthony Randolph, a former LSU standout, had 12 points, eight blocked shots and eight rebounds. His spinning dribble drive and tough layup in traffic gave the Warriors a 79-76 lead late in the third quarter.
Paul's jumper then ignited a 13-2 run that vaulted New Orleans back in front for good, with reserve forward Darius Songaila scoring six points during the surge, including one tough basket after twice rebounding his own misses.
Ellis started one last Golden State comeback when he blew past Paul on a drive, soared past defenders in the lane and hooked in a short floater that he appeared to release behind his head. Ellis added two more driving layups and Anthony Morrow's 3-pointer got Golden State back to 96-94.
New Orleans led 103-100 and appeared ready to finally put it away when Paul suddenly lost his touch from the free-throw line in the final minutes. After he missed a pair, Curry nearly tied it when his 3-point attempt rattled out. Paul was fouled on the other end and missed another free throw, but made his second, putting New Orleans up 104-100 with 39 seconds left.
Ellis' free throws cut it to 104-102 with 36 seconds to go. Then Paul delivered the knockout blow by backing into the post on the dribble and hitting his 12-foot turnaround fade with a second left on the shot clock.
"We wanted him to do that," West said. "We had pretty good rebounding position if that shot came off and he was able to make a great play."
Golden State was unable to recover as Ellis' 3 missed and the Hornets' Bobby Brown grabbed the long rebound.
"We felt it was a game where we'd really have to have poise because of their style of play ... and because of the offensive talent they possess," Hornets coach Jeff Bower said.
Golden State shot 57 percent (24 of 42) in the first half, when Ellis scored 23 of his points on 10 of 13 shooting. Yet the Warriors never led by more than six and were unable to pull away because they allowed New Orleans to grab eight offensive rebounds, leading to a 15-2 Hornets advantage in second-chance points through the first two quarters.
Golden State's lead was only 56-54 when Stojakovic's free throws tied it late in the second quarter. Paul then hit an 8-foot fade to put New Orleans up 58-56 at halftime.
- Randolph blocked six shots in the first quarter.
- The Hornets have won nine of 10 at home and are 11-3 at home overall.
- Golden State entered the game first in the NBA in fast-break points with 22.7 per game. They had 33 against the Hornets.
- The Hornets scored 100 points for the first time in 11 games.