Gortat's career night lifts Suns over HornetsJan 31, 2011 - 4:39 AM Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Marcin Gortat scored a career-high 25 points to go along with 11 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns survived a late New Orleans surge, topping the Hornets, 104-102, at US Airways Center.
Gortat sank a short layup with 3:09 remaining to give Phoenix a 102-90 lead, but a strong surge by the Hornets, capped by six late points from Chris Paul made the game close.
Paul was fouled while shooting a three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining, he made all three to put the game at 104-102, and the Suns turned the ball over on the ensuing inbound pass as Vince Carter stepped out of bounds on a bad pass from Grant Hill, but the Suns held on as Paul's desperation shot at the buzzer was off target, giving the Suns their second win since dropping three straight.
"It's a great win for us," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "Obviously I wish we could have closed the game out in the end, we played great but they made a couple of shots and we fouled them on a three point shot. That got the game close."
Paul led the Hornets with a game-high 26 points to go along with 12 assists and David West scored 17 points for New Orleans, which has dropped back-to- back games since its 10-game winning streak.
The Suns took a 88-80 lead into the final stanza, however, New Orleans started the quarter with a Willie Green jumper to trim its deficit to six. Jared Dudley's basket just inside seven minutes remaining put Phoenix up 96-86, and after trading baskets, Gortat's thundering dunk at 5:09 put the Suns up 12.
West connected on a driving layup at the far end to cut the lead down to 100-90, and Gortat's layup 'at 3:09 preceded the Hornets attempt at late heroics.
"It was a lot but it was too late," Hornets coach Monty Williams said of the late run. "We had a lot of good stuff happen in the last few minutes of the game."
Tied 53-53 at the half, the teams opened up the third trading baskets, however, a Nash three-pointer and two Lopez free throws quickly gave Phoenix a 60-55 lead two minutes in.
The Hornets kept the game close down the stretch, tying the game two more times through the quarter. Ariza's jumper at 5:09 put the game at 72-72 but a Gortat layup on the near end started a 12-4 Phoenix run, capped by a Mickael Pietrus three-pointer at 2:22, to put the Suns up 84-76.
After Paul made a pair from the line, Gortat added another basket and pair of free throws to expand the Phoenix edge to 88-78. Paul's short jump shot made it a 88-80 game entering the final stanza.
Phoenix led 27-25 after a back-and-forth first quarter, and New Orleans kept the game tight in the second sending the game into the break tied at 53-53.
Hornets center Emeka Okafor injured himself in the second quarter in what was reported as a muscle strain...He finished with 10 points and seven rebounds...The Suns played without reserve guard Goran Dragic who missed the game after receiving nine stitches in his left foot on Saturday...Nash finished with 10 points and 15 assists and Hill added 16 points for the victors...Trevor Ariza scored 16 points with seven rebounds in the loss...The Hornets held a 47-43 rebounding advantage.
- NEW ORLEANS: 102
Jan 30 10:27 PM
- NEW ORLEANS: 80
End of 3rd
Jan 30 9:50 PM
- NEW ORLEANS: 53
Jan 30 9:08 PM
- NEW ORLEANS: 25
End of 1st
Jan 30 8:37 PM
- NEW ORLEANS: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Jan 30 8:12 PM
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