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Chandler, Paul help Hornets destroy Bobcats

Dec 29, 2007 - 6:02 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Tyson Chandler controlled the paint and Chris Paul took care of the perimeter as the New Orleans Hornets returned to their former home.

Chandler had 17 points and 17 rebounds and Paul added 17 points and 11 assists as the Hornets broke out early and coasted to their fifth straight win, 99-85 over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday.

David West added 20 points and 10 rebounds and Bobby Jackson 11 points off the bench for the Hornets, who played their first 14 years in this city.

"CP has been very consistent with points and assists," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said, "and so has David, and Tyson has been very consistent as far as his rebounds.

"It seems like every night someone is having a big game. When we have three or four of our guys doing that we play pretty well."

Chandler scored the first basket 52 seconds into the game and New Orleans never trailed. His bucket with 2:11 left in the quarter provided a 23-10 lead and Jackson's 3-pointer gave the Hornets a 28-14 edge after one quarter. Paul hit a jumper in the period but handed out five assists.

Charlotte got to within 10 early in the second, but New Orleans stretched the edge to 53-31 with an 8-0 run late in the second. Paul fed West for a dunk and Morris Peterson for a 3-pointer before converting a three-point play of his own.

Charlotte's Jason Richardson closed the half with a 3-pointer.

"I can't put my finger on why urgency steps up after we spot the team 10 points," Charlotte coach Sam Vincent said. "We're getting behind and then all of a sudden it's, uh-oh we're behind guys, we've got to play hard.

"Then the defense gets more aggressive and all of a sudden we want to run the ball in transition as opposed to starting that way and getting a 10-point lead."

The Bobcats got a hook from Emeka Okafor, two free throws from Gerald Wallace and a layup by Nazr Mohammed to cut their deficit to 57-43 with 8:32 left in the third, but New Orleans responded with a jumper by West, a 3-pointer by Paul and an inside hoop by Chandler to push the lead to 23 just two minutes later.

Paul, who made all five free throws and didn't commit a turnover, was coming off a 40-point performance in Wednesday's 116-98 victory over the Washington Wizards and entered having averaged 25.7 points and 10 assists in 11 December contests.

The former Wake Forest point guard got the best of his former college rival, Raymond Felton. The former North Carolina point was 2-of-10 for four points with three turnovers and four assists.

"It's always very special to play here in North Carolina," Paul said. "I only get one chance a year to play here. I had about 500 of my family and friends at the game tonight. And that's not including all of the Wake Forest fans that were here. Tonight was really special."

Jason Richardson scored 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting, after beginning the game 1-for-7, for the Bobcats, who have lost three straight.

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