Paul helps Hornets rally over HoustonApr 7, 2011 - 4:31 AM New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Chris Paul finished one rebound short of a triple-double, scoring 28 points with 10 assists and nine rebounds, as the New Orleans Hornets clinched their third postseason berth in four years with a 101-93 victory over Houston.
Trevor Ariza and Jarrett Jack finished with 19 points apiece, five rebounds and a season-high six steals, while Emeka Okafor added 11 points for the Hornets, who yielded a season-high 38 first-quarter points and trailed by 17 before mounting a comeback.
"I thought Jarrett Jack came in and gave us a big lift guarding (Kevin) Martin so we could tag team him a little bit. Trevor's (Ariza) defense was phenomenal tonight. And then Chris (Paul) almost had a triple-double and normally I don't say this because I don't like to put this stuff out there but he had 45 cc's drained off his knee yesterday from the hit he took and for him to be able to play at a high level with a sore leg, they just don't make them like that," said Hornets head coach Monty Williams.
New Orleans is tied with Portland for the sixth position in the Western Conference playoff race, one game in front of Memphis. The Hornets have four games remaining following their third victory in four games.
Martin scored 21 points, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic added 16 apiece and Chase Budinger donated 12 points for Houston, which dropped its second straight game.
"They played very physical, we played our tails off," said Houston head coach Rick Adelman. "We did everything we could do, we just didn't do enough."
As good as Houston was offensively in the opening 12 minutes, the Hornets were equally as bad. The Rockets raced out to a 10-0 lead, as Ariza's bucket with 8:12 to play was New Orleans' first of the game. The domination continued, as Budinger's slam opened a 20-4 margin, and Houston made nine of its first 12 shots.
The Hornets fought back, scoring nine straight to get within five points at 22-17 on Ariza's slam. Houston regained the momentum and used a three-point barrage, including three in the final 2:17 to take a 38-21 lead into the second period.
New Orleans started making the slow road back, putting home eight points in succession to trim the deficit to 40-33, and after the margin grew again to double digits, the Hornets turned the table on the long-range game, making three of their own over the last two-place minutes. Jack's triple just before the horn made the score 55-51.
Ariza's layup with 8:18 on the clock tied the game for the first time at 59-59, and the Hornets took their first lead at the 5:02 mark on Marco Belinelli's trey. Okafor's putback moments later capped an 11-0 burst for a 70-63 advantage, and New Orleans led 74-71 after three quarters.
Houston regained the edge at 79-77 on two Courtney Lee free throws, his only points of the game, and held a five-point lead, 86-81, on Patrick Patterson's jumper with just under seven minutes on the clock. However, the Hornets responded, as Jack punctuated an 8-0 run with another three.
Martin's three-point play tied the game, but Paul made two free throws and Ariza's slam opened the four-point margin with four minutes to go. Houston got as close as 95-93 on Scola's jumper with one minute to go, but Kyle Lowry missed a game-tying attempt with just under 15 ticks to go, and Jack made the game-icing free throws.
Lowry finished 3-of-11 from the floor for eight points to go along with six assists...Jack had five assists...Both Scola and Charles Hayes had 10 rebounds for the Rockets...New Orleans has won five of six in the series.
- HOUSTON: 93
NEW ORLEANS: 101
Apr 6 10:27 PM
- HOUSTON: 71
NEW ORLEANS: 74
End of 3rd
Apr 6 9:48 PM
- HOUSTON: 55
NEW ORLEANS: 51
Apr 6 9:03 PM
- HOUSTON: 38
NEW ORLEANS: 21
End of 1st
Apr 6 8:37 PM
- HOUSTON: 0
NEW ORLEANS: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 6 8:12 PM
- NBA China to open basketball-themed Playzone in Shanghai May 17
- Hornets PG Kemba Walker has another surgery on left knee May 9
- George's return has Pacers dreaming of brighter future May 2
- Hornets future unclear with 4 starters becoming free agents May 2
- Game 7's to decide Miami-Charlotte, Toronto-Indiana series Apr 30
- Rockets must find coach in wake of first-round ouster Apr 29
- Batum 'running on adrenaline' in Game 6 after birth of child Apr 29
- Blazers, Hornets can cap comebacks, Raptors also can advance Apr 29
- Blazers, Hornets can cap comebacks, Raptors also can advance Apr 28
- Hornets C Spencer Hawes out for remainder of series vs Heat Apr 28
- Warriors reach second round with MVP Stephen Curry sidelined Apr 28
- Warriors roll into second round of playoffs without Curry Apr 28