Paul, West lead Hornets past shorthanded KingsNov 1, 2007 - 3:40 AM By Ed Cassiere PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Chris Paul, David West and the New Orleans Hornets had few problems against the depleted Sacramento Kings.
Paul scored 22 points and dished out 12 assists and West added 17 points to lead the Hornets to a 104-90 rout of the Kings in the season opener for both teams on Wednesday.
The Hornets, who are playing full time in New Orleans for the first time in three seasons, shot 56 percent from the floor in building a 87-61 lead through three quarters and coasting to their sixth victory in their last seven home openers.
Paul was outstanding, shooting 7-of-13 from the floor and finishing two rebounds shy of a triple-double.
"The biggest thing about tonight was that our shooters made shots, and that's why we were able to stretch a lead," Paul said.
West, who was questionable for the game after spraining his left ankle late last week, scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half and had six assists to tie his career high.
"I knew I was going to play," West said. "I kept icing down the ankle. There was no way they were going to keep me out."
Kevin Martin scored 26 points and John Salmons added 22 and nine assists for Sacramento, which played without point guard Mike Bibby (thumb), small forward Ron Artest (suspension) and rookie center Spencer Hawes (knee).
First-year coach Reggie Theus did not have a good debut partly because he did not have his full compliment of weapons.
Bibby is out 8-10 weeks after having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, Artest is suspended for the first seven games of the season for an arrest stemming from a domestic dispute, and Hawes is out after having arthroscopic knee surgery on October 2.
"It was good to get our jitters out of the way without Mike and Ron, but we've got a lot to work on," Martin said. "This is an opportunity for other players to step up, and that's what we've got to do."
The Hornets led nearly all of the first half and by 15 points at halftime after Stojakovic - who missed 69 games this past season because of a back injury - made consecutive 3-pointers in the final 67 seconds to cap a 15-3 run.
"I felt all right out there," Stojakovic said. "I was still trying to find my rhythm, get my legs back. But overall, I'm happy. First one down, 81 to go. It was a good start for us."
Tyson Chandler collected 15 points and 13 rebounds and Stojakovic had 19 points for New Orleans, which shot 51 percent (39-of-77) from the floor and had all five starters in double figures.
"I think we are (a dangerous team)," Paul said. "As long as we defend and run, that's our motto. Coach says, 'Defend, rebound and run.' That's what we did tonight."
The Hornets also outrebounded the Kings by 10.
"I said before the game that rebounding and Chris Paul were going to be trouble," Theus said. "And it was."
NEW ORLEANS 104 FINAL
Oct 31 10:33 PM
NEW ORLEANS 87 END, 3RD QTR
Oct 31 9:58 PM
NEW ORLEANS 57 HALFTIME
Oct 31 9:14 PM
NEW ORLEANS 29 END, 1ST QTR
Oct 31 8:41 PM
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