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Paul, Stojakovic lead Hornets to third straight win

Nov 19, 2006 - 3:59 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Chris Paul seems to improve every time he and the New Orleans Hornets take the floor.

Paul scored a career-high 35 points and Peja Stojakovic added 20, including the game-winning 3-pointer with less than a second left, as the Hornets posted a 99-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Paul scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and shot 12-of-18 from the field as the Hornets extended their winning streak to three games.

"Chris was amazing; getting to the basket, making shots, getting shots for other guys," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "He did what he was supposed to do tonight. He saw that we weren't playing really well and took it upon himself, started pushing it even harder, which makes the guys that are out there run. He took it upon himself to make sure we got out of here with a victory."

"I wanted to make the effort to get there (in the fourth quarter)," Paul said. "The only way you have a chance is to be aggressive. If I can (get) into the lane, I can make a shot or get fouled."

Stojakovic, who had eight points in the final period, took an inbounds pass from Desmond Mason, turned and squared up from 25 feet away to hit the game-winner with 0.6 seconds on the shot clock.

"I was screening for CP (Paul) because he was so hot at that point with six (points) in a row," Stojakovic said. "Tyson (Chandler) set a good brush screen for me, and it was a pretty good look."

"He (Stojakovic) was the first look," Scott said. "I told (Mason, the inbounder) that, 'You might see Bobby (Jackson) and he might be open, but your primary goal right now is that I think Peja will come off 'naked', and he came out pretty wide open. He had the time to catch it and really take his time, and you can't give that guy that look."

Kevin Garnett fired an off-balance shot from the arc which hit the backboard as time expired for the Timberwolves, who absorbed their sixth loss in seven outings.

"I wish there would've been more seconds on the clock for us to run another play," Timberwolves guard Mike James said. "It really doesn't matter how you play in the beginning of the game, what matters is how you end the game, and even though we played well for three quarters, we were still outscored in the fourth quarter, 32-22."

Minnesota led, 74-67, entering the fourth but the Hornets went on an 11-3 run in the first 5:12 of the period, capped by Jackson's three-point play to take a 78-77 lead.

"It shows the poise that this team has," Paul said. "The additions we made in the offseason, we brought a lot of guys in that have been in these situations time and time again. We don't let the crowd affect us, we just stick to what we do."

Garnett finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds for Minnesota, which shot 41 percent (35-of-85) from the field.

Mason scored 10 points for the Hornets, who shot 48 percent (39-of-81) and have beaten the Timberwolves three of the last four games.






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