Hornets send Suns to fourth straight lossMar 17, 2011 - 3:25 AM New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Chris Paul tallied 26 points, nine assists and five rebounds, as the New Orleans Hornets held off the Phoenix Suns, 100-95.
Emeka Okafor added 16 points and 11 boards for the Hornets, who improved to 3-1 on a five-game homestand. David West donated 16 points and nine rebounds.
"It was very important. This is a team that is right there in the playoff hunt with us," Paul said. "We needed to show ourselves that we can beat them because we play these guys again in about a week."
Jared Dudley finished with 25 points and eight boards off the bench for the Suns, who have dropped four in a row. Vince Carter and Grant Hill added 21 and 15 points, respectively.
All-star guard Steve Nash returned to the lineup after missing two games due to pelvic instability. He ended with eight points and 10 assists in almost 35 minutes of action.
"He tried, but he's not the same guy," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said of Nash. "I didn't expect him to be. Just to have him out there was good for us. He's not going to be a hundred percent, and with him that's important that he has the zip. He just didn't have it after coming back from that injury."
Paul scored the final seven points of a back-and-forth first quarter to give the Hornets a 31-29 edge.
New Orleans led by as many as 10 in the second stanza, but Phoenix got within 48-46 on Carter's trey with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. The Hornets, though, scored the final eight points of the half to take a 56-46 margin into the locker room.
Holding a 60-52 edge with 9:48 left in the third, New Orleans went on an 11-0 run to create some distance. Paul's jumper made it a 71-52 game with under seven minutes to go.
Carter's jumper and Dudley's three-pointer got the Suns within 77-65 heading to the fourth.
Phoenix made five three-pointers in the fourth to make things a bit interesting. Dudley's trey with 21.4 seconds to play cut the gap to 95-91, but New Orleans went 5-of-6 from the line down the stretch to seal the victory.
Phoenix had won three in a row against New Orleans...The Hornets improved to 24-10 at home this season...The Suns went 14-of-34 from beyond the arc...Willie Green had 11 points for New Orleans, which went 6-of-17 from three-point range...Carter and Dudley both made five three-pointers.
- PHOENIX: 95
NEW ORLEANS: 100
Mar 16 10:29 PM
- PHOENIX: 65
NEW ORLEANS: 77
End of 3rd
Mar 16 9:52 PM
- PHOENIX: 46
NEW ORLEANS: 56
Mar 16 9:09 PM
- PHOENIX: 29
NEW ORLEANS: 31
End of 1st
Mar 16 8:41 PM
- PHOENIX: 0
NEW ORLEANS: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Mar 16 8:13 PM
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