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Peterson's season-high 27 points leads Hornets past Sixers

Nov 15, 2007 - 5:21 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Morris Peterson started out fast. Chris Paul took over from there.

Peterson scored a season-high 27 points, including 18 in the first quarter, as the New Orleans Hornets posted a 95-76 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

Paul scored nine of his 13 points in the third period and dished out 10 assists for New Orleans, which has won three straight.

"We owed these guys from last year," Paul said. "They beat us twice. When you look at games like that, those are the type of games that may be the deciding factor in whether you do or don't make the playoffs."

The Hornets have won seven of their first nine to match the best start in franchise history.

"Yeah, we're happy about being 7-2," Paul added. "But we're much more interested with being 8-2. We just have to keep winning."

New Orleans also started 7-2 in 2002-03, when the club finished 47-35, losing to Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs.

Peterson, who signed a four-year, $23 million dollar deal in the offseason, went 4-of-4 from 3-point range in the initial period to give New Orleans a 26-20 lead. The eight-year veteran connected on 7-of-12 from the floor and nailed 6-of-9 3 pointers for the game.

"I got (to the arena) early," Peterson said. "It took about an hour and a half to get my shots in, but when I was shooting around, the shots were falling. As a shooter, you always feel like you are supposed to make your next shot. After the first shot fell, then No. 2 dropped, and three went in as well, the basket got real big."

Paul, the 2005 Rookie of the Year, had just two points at halftime before going 4-of-4 with four assists in the third to give the Hornets a 73-64 lead entering the final period.

"We haven't been having a good third quarter," Paul said. "At halftime, we realized that they were coming off a back-to-back and we were the ones looking like we had played last night - so we tried to jump on them early."

David West scored 16 points and Tyson Chandler had 14 and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double for New Orleans, which shot 48 percent (35-of-73) and drilled 11-of-20 from the arc.

"We were playing a team with some shooters," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Peterson made some shots we would prefer he not make, and when he and the others are making threes they are tough to guard."

Willie Green scored a season-high 20 points and Andre Miller added 17 for Philadelphia, which has dropped four in a row.

"I would be lying if I said we weren't frustrated," Sixers forward Kyle Korver said. "In our half-court offense, we don't have any good spacing. We are not able to get good shots, shots we want and shots that play to guys' strengths. We need to find a way to do that."

Samuel Dalembert also had 13 points and 13 boards for the Sixers, who shot 40 percent (30-of-75) and became the fourth straight opponent to be held under 90 points by the Hornets.

Philadelphia forward Andre Iguodala played more minutes (40:12) than any other 76er, yet scored the fewest points amongst the starters. He contributed to his team's shooting by hitting just two of 15 shots.

"As many times that you can't score the ball, you try not to let it affect your game," Korver said. "Naturally the energy isn't quite there, and that is what has finished us. A loose ball there, a shot knocking down a three, a couple of those just break your back especially when it's late in the game."

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