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Paul, Stojakovic lead as Hornets crush Trail Blazers

Nov 3, 2007 - 4:05 AM By Ed Cassiere PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- For the second time in three days, the New Orleans Hornets were on target.

Chris Paul scored 19 points and Peja Stojakovic added 18 to lead the hot-shooting Hornets to a 113-93 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

It is the first time in the Hornets' 20-year history that they've opened the season with consecutive double-digit victories. They beat Sacramento by 14 on Wednesday.

New Orleans shot 56 percent (44-of-78) from the field - the second straight game which the club made more than it missed - and never relinquished the lead after scoring the first four points.

The Hornets buried the Blazers in the third quarter, outscoring them by 15 points. Paul was solid in the period with nine points in the final seven minutes.

"We did a terrible job containing Chris Paul," Portland swingman Brandon Roy said. "He got in the lane. If he wasn't shooting a layup, he was getting an assist for somebody getting a dunk. You can't stop the Hornets if you can't stop Chris Paul, and we did a terrible job of that."

Stojakovic, who missed all but 13 games last season, knocked down 7-of-17 shots, including 4-of-10 from the arc. He connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the decisive third.

"New Orleans has a lot of weapons," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "They're a very good team. But we can play better. It was disheartening to see them pick us apart."

Bobby Jackson and David West poured in 14 points apiece, Rasual Butler added 11 and Tyson Chandler and Jannero Pargo each netted 10 for New Orleans.

"It's been impressive the way we've shot the ball the first two games," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "The guys have a pretty good understanding of each other and the offense.

"I like the ball movement, the player movement and the fact that we have a bunch of unselfish guys that want to do whatever's best for the team."

Roy scored 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting and reserve James Jones added 14 on 6-of-7 shooting for Portland, which was outrebounded by New Orleans, 40-30.

While Roy and James played a solid game, the other 10 Blazers who saw time on Friday shot a combined 33 percent (24-of-61) from the floor.

Chandler left the game midway through the second quarter with a bloody nose after a collision under his basket but returned just over two minutes later. The 25-year-old center pulled down 11 rebounds and was a perfect 2-of-2 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.

Chandler was among those drawing praise from Scott for defending Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored 27 points on 12-of-19 shooting Tuesday at San Antonio but had just eight points against the Hornets on 4-of-12 from the field.

"Tyson loves those type of challenges," Scott said. "But we had three or four guys guarding (Aldridge). David guarded him, Hilton (Armstrong), Melvin (Ely). We tried to make sure when (Aldridge) put it on the floor, we had some help coming that way. We tried to make sure every shot was under a little duress."

"We stuck to our principles. We stayed aggressive on Aldridge all night and got him out of his comfort zone," said Chandler, who has double-doubles in both of New Orleans' victories. "We looked good out there."

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