West, Paul carry Hornets past BullsFeb 13, 2008 - 5:04 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- David West and Chris Paul showed why they are playing in the All-Star Game.
West scored 27 points and Paul contributed 25 and 14 assists as the New Orleans Hornets coasted to a 100-86 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.
Sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic, who will compete in the 3-point Shootout during All-Star weekend, also poured in 27 points for the Hornets, who have won three straight games.
"We were down six or so at the half, so we knew we would have to come out and help out each other on the defensive end," Stojakovic said. "If we were going to beat this team, we had to use our defense to get our offense going. That's what we did."
With the game tied at 76-76 with 8:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, the duo of West and Paul combined for 12 points during a 16-8 surge that created some breathing room at 92-84.
Andres Nocioni hit two free throws to close the gap to 92-86, but Paul made two foul shots and found Rasual Butler for a 3-pointer to rebuild a double-figure lead with 1:28 remaining.
"The Bulls play hard," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We knew that they would come out and give a great effort. We talked about how we would have to match their intensity or be in for a long night. We just came out with more energy and focus in that second half."
Chicago, which returned home after enduring a 2-4 mark on its six-game tour of the Western Conference, was held to under 20 points in each of the final two quarters.
"It was a tale of two halves for us," Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan said. "We played well in the first half with good energy and our execution was good. In the second half we seemed to be in the mud a little bit. We were not moving well and missed some shots."
Nocioni finished with 28 points for Chicago, which was without the services of Ben Gordon (wrist) and Luol Deng (left Achilles) to various injuries.
"It's difficult to guard this team, they have too many weapons," Nocioni said. "We need to keep working. The Eastern Conference is really tight and we know that we can still make the playoffs."
NEW ORLEANS 100
CHICAGO 86 FINAL
Feb 12 10:47 PM
NEW ORLEANS 72
CHICAGO 68 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 12 10:15 PM
NEW ORLEANS 43
CHICAGO 50 HALFTIME
Feb 12 9:42 PM
NEW ORLEANS 25
CHICAGO 27 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 12 9:02 PM
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