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Paul, Stojakovic rally Hornets to victory in preseason finale

Oct 25, 2006 - 5:00 AM SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- Chris Paul and Peja Stojakovic wouldn't let the New Orleans Hornets enter the regular season on a losing note.

Paul scored 22 points and Stojakovic nailed the game-winning basket with 25 seconds left as the Hornets rallied to snap a five-game preseason losing streak with an 84-81 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

Desmond Mason had 17 points and Bobby Jackson added 13 for the Hornets, who finished the exhibition season with a 2-5 record and avenged a 117-93 rout to the Kings on Sunday.

Paul, who handed out nine assists, grabbed seven rebounds and made four steals, got the Hornets within 81-80 with his eighth consecutive point, a 3-pointer with 2:03 to go in the fourth. Over a minute and a half later, Stojakovic, who finished with eight points, sank a tough fallaway jumper for an 82-81 edge.

After Ron Artest, who collected 19 points and nine rebounds, missed a short jumper, Paul retrieved the loose ball before being fouled. Following another foul, Paul was sent to the free-throw line but he missed both shots with six seconds left, giving Sacramento one last chance.

After a timeout, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who scored 18 points, missed badly due to great defense by Tyson Chandler. Jannero Pargo sank a pair of free throws with one-tenth remaining to seal it.

Chandler had eight points, 10 boards and four steals for the Hornets, who held the Kings scoreless in the final 5:49.

Kevin Martin scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half for Sacramento, which committed 27 turnovers.

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