Paul, Chandler lead Hornets to fifth straight road winJan 5, 2008 - 7:38 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- The New Orleans Hornets are off to their best start in years.
Chris Paul and Peja Stojakovic scored 24 points apiece and Tyson Chandler scored 22 and pulled down a season high-tying 22 rebounds as the Hornets trounced the Golden State Warriors, 116-104, on Friday night.
In one year, the Hornets have gone from being one of the worst teams in the NBA to playoff contenders, and have won five straight road games for the first time since March 2003.
"I don't know how impressive it is," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "I haven't been keeping count on what we're doing as far as winning on the road. All I know is we try to get prepared for the next game and win every game that we go out and play.
"We've been a very good road team all season long, and one of the main things - we talked about this before this season started - was being good on the road this year and instead of winning 15 games, let's see if we can win 18-20 and, right now, we're headed in the right direction."
New Orleans held just a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter before pulling away with a pair of runs.
"That was quite a performance we just witnessed," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "That's a really good team, and I suppose people don't know that, but not only looking at their record but when you watch them play and give a scouting report on them. They played at a really high level tonight, so give all the credit to them."
The Hornets used an 8-0 spurt - capped by Morris Peterson's 3-pointer - to take a 101-88 lead with 6:10 to play. New Orleans further put the game out of reach with another 8-0 run - again capped by Peterson's shot from the arc - to take a 114-96 advantage with just under two minutes to play.
Chandler put his seal of approval on the game with a driving one-handed slam and a pose to the fans with just under 90 seconds remaining.
"I know this team and I know they score in bunches," Chandler said. "And when they score in bunches the crowd really gets into it, and we knew that was going to happen and the thing we wanted to do the second half was not allow that.
"We didn't want it to be a close game going down the stretch because they play off emotion and this crowd definitely gives them emotion so we wanted to keep the crowd out of the game."
Paul scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter to go along with 13 assists and five steals for his third straight double-double.
"The biggest thing was we slowed down the tempo for us," Paul said. "At halftime, I was sitting here beside Bobby Jackson and he said I needed to be more aggressive. You've just got to keep attacking and be aggressive and, finally towards the end, I got a few fouls called and got to the line a little bit."
Golden State missed 12 free throws and that proved to be the difference in the game. The Hornets also outshot the Warriors from the arc making 12-of-27 threes compared to just 7-of-23 by Golden State.
"You've just got to play help defense and sort of hope they miss," Paul said. "They have so many guys that are capable of handling the ball that somewhere there's going to be a mismatch on the court, so you have to communicate and luckily they missed shots and that's all it was."
The Warriors scored first but it didn't take long for the Hornets to take the lead, going on an 8-0 run to take an early 13-7 lead. New Orleans would go on another run and extend its lead to 10 points later in the quarter, as the Hornets made 6-of-7 from the arc in the opening quarter for a 39-27 bulge after one.
The Warriors trailed by 14 points early in the second quarter but came back to take the lead, 50-48, on an 18-2 run with 2:54 left in the first half.
After leading by two points at the break, the Hornets scored the first 12 points in the third quarter, going on a 22-6 run since the end of the second quarter to lead, 70-56, with 8:22 left in the third.
Baron Davis scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half and Al Harrington added 24 for the Warriors, who have lost consecutive games for the first time since dropping their first six of the season.
"We can't play in spurts, we can't beat a team (and) rely on ourselves to play in spurts," Davis said. "We've got to be able to play the whole 48 (minutes), play consistent, play team basketball and that's what we haven't done in the last two games.
"We got lucky against Houston, really the last three games, so we've got to go back to the drawing board and get better."
With the Hornets leading by 10 points in the fourth quarter, the game was delayed when David West was undercut by Harrington, who missed a reverse layup. West landed awkwardly on his left arm and side and was writhing in pain on the court while the entire team tended to him.
West was able to get up and sat on the bench for the rest of the contest with a bruised left hip.
"If anything, he probably misses (Saturday's) game, and you hope with three days before the (Los Angeles) Lakers game, hopefully he'll be ready for that one, but that's all we can hope for now because he took a pretty bad spill," Scott said.
NEW ORLEANS 116
GOLDEN STATE 104 FINAL
Jan 5 1:00 AM
NEW ORLEANS 90
GOLDEN STATE 74 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 5 12:25 AM
NEW ORLEANS 58
GOLDEN STATE 56 HALFTIME
Jan 4 11:40 PM
NEW ORLEANS 39
GOLDEN STATE 27 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 4 11:07 PM
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