Paul leads Hornets past Rockets
Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) – Chris Paul scored 28 points, including a
career-high four three-pointers and David West added 23 as the New
Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets downed the Houston Rockets, 106-94, at the Ford
Desmond Mason registered 19 points for the Hornets, who have won four of their
last six games. Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 10 rebounds for New
Leading 93-91, the Hornets closed the game with a 13-3 run, capped by a Mason
steal and dunk which put the margin at 12, 106-94 with just 28 seconds to go.
Tracy McGrady poured in 31 points for Houston, which had a five-game winning
streak snapped. Yao Ming added 16 points, Luther Head 15 and Rafer Alston 12
for the Rockets, who could have clinched a playoff spot with a win and a
Golden State loss.
McGrady came out hot, scoring 13 points in the first frame and the Rockets led
30-20 after one quarter.
New Orleans trimmed the margin to 52-44 by the half.
“We talked about us giving up points from things we thought they were going to
do,” Hornets coach Byron Scott said.
The Hornets came out of the locker room energized and took the lead on Paul’s
running jumper with just over three minutes remaining in the third period.
After Houston recaptured the lead on an Alston triple, the Hornets took it
back for good when Paul drilled a trey with two seconds left in the stanza.
The Hornets held a 75-73 edge heading into the final quarter.
The Hornets began to distance themselves, scoring the first four points of the
fourth frame to go ahead 79-73, but Houston fought back and two Yao free
throws pulled the Rockets within one, 83-82 with 6:43 to go.
Paul then stretched the lead back to six, 88-82 with a three and a running
jumper. Houston responded by scoring the next five points before West’s layup
ended the run with 3:59 remaining.
After McGrady’s layup again brought Houston within one, 90-89, Paul converted
a three-point play to put the Rockets back up 93-89. With 3:10 remaining,
McGrady then made another driving layup before the Hornets went on their run.
“We didn’t start off well,” Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. “In the middle
of the first quarter, I thought that we played better defense than in the
beginning of the first.”
The Hornets outrebounded the Rockets 43-35…The Hornets shot 49.4 percent
while the Rockets shot 43.5 percent from the field…The Hornets have won all
three matchups between these two this season and seven of the last eight