Paul, Peterson lead Hornets over SunsDec 16, 2007 - 7:15 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets showed their resilience against the Phoenix Suns.
Paul had 21 points and 10 assists Saturday to lead the Hornets to a 101-98 victory over the Suns, snapping their two-game losing streak.
Morris Peterson had 21 points, David West had 15 and 11 rebounds and Tyson Chandler posted 14 and 18 for New Orleans, which snapped a seven-game losing streak to Phoenix.
"This was another good win in an especially tough conference," Paul said. "Last year, we were 0-11 or 0-12 against Dallas, Phoenix and San Antonio. This year, we've turned that around with a win against Dallas and a win against Phoenix."
New Orleans built a 16-point first-half lead, lost it early in the fourth quarter, then recaptured the momentum to knock off the Suns, who entered the game with the NBA's third-best record.
"When you beat a very good team like Phoenix, that makes it a little more special," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Now, we go on the road for two games and see if we can build on it."
Paul's 3-pointer with 7:22 remaining put the Hornets ahead to stay at 90-88. His basket at 6:02 made it 94-88, but Phoenix chipped away and pulled within 99-98 on Amare Stoudemire's two free throws with 35 ticks left and had a chance to win after West was called for traveling with 14 seconds left.
Phoenix got the ball to Shawn Marion, but his driving runner from left to right with two seconds left didn't draw iron.
"That's a shot I hit on a regular basis," Marion said. "I felt like it could've gone in."
After the Hornets' Rasual Butler grabbed the rebound, Paul made two free throws with two-tenths of a second remaining to close the scoring. Steve Nash missed a desperation 3-pointer as the final horn sounded.
Leandro Barbosa scored 19 points and Stoudemire and Grant Hill added 17 apiece for Phoenix.
The Hornets led, 31-26, after the first period. After Phoenix closed within 41-39 on a jumper by Boris Diaw with 7:45 left in the half, Peterson sparked an 18-4 run that provided New Orleans a 59-43 lead with 75 seconds left in the half.
"We had some chances to put Phoenix away late but couldn't," Paul said. "I was worried because when you give a good team that many opportunities, they're bound to take advantage. (Marion's airball) was huge."
Peterson knocked down two 3-pointers and a free throw during the spurt, Paul added a shot from the arc and a jumper, and Chandler recorded two dunks and a layup.
New Orleans led, 59-46, at the half, but Phoenix drew even at 80-80 after three periods with the help of 3-pointers. Nash, Marion and Raja Bell knocked down shots from the arc and Barbosa nailed two 3-pointers in the final 75 seconds. Stoudemire and Hill added three-point plays in the stanza.
But after going 5-of-7 from 3-point range in the third quarter, the Suns were 0-of-5 in the final period.
Phoenix has lost three of its last four games. The Suns entered the game with an NBA-best 110.0 points per game but were held 12 points below their average. The Hornets limited Nash, who entered with a league-leading 12.3 assists per game, to seven assists.
"We lost this game by not coming out real sharp," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We've got to find some grit which we don't have right now. We're searching for it. New Orleans won that game just by playing hard."
FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
PHOENIX 26 20 34 18 98
NEW ORLEANS 31 28 21 21 101 FINAL
HIGH SCORERS: PHO - LEANDRO BARBOSA 19, GRANT HILL 17, RAJA
NOR - MORRIS PETERSON 21, CHRIS PAUL 21, DAVID
Dec 15 10:19 PM
NEW ORLEANS 80 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 15 9:47 PM
NEW ORLEANS 59 HALFTIME
Dec 15 9:05 PM
NEW ORLEANS 31 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 15 8:37 PM
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