Bulls
Pelicans
97 - 108 Final
  for this game

Paul torches Bulls in fourth quarter as Hornets rally

Mar 18, 2008 - 4:25 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Chris Paul made sure the New Orleans Hornets weren't going to drop another one to a team from the Midwest.

Paul collected 37 points and 13 assists to help the Hornets rally late in the decisive quarter for a 108-97 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

Peja Stojakovic scored 21 points and Bonzi Wells contributed 19 off the bench as New Orleans bounced back from a 21-point road loss to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

The Hornets (45-21) are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for second place in the Western Conference - one game behind the streaking Houston Rockets (46-20), who have won 22 straight games.

New Orleans has a chance to close the gap when they host the Rockets on Wednesday.

"It's a big game," Paul said. "We really owe those guys. They beat us twice out of the three games so far, and we really look forward to those tiebreakers. We really need this one to split."

Back-to-back mid-range jumpers from Drew Gooden helped the Bulls create a 93-84 advantage with 7:01 left in the fourth quarter before Paul took things into his own hands.

Paul dominated the final minutes of this one as he scored 11 points during a game-changing 14-3 run which was capped by his alley-oop pass to Tyson Chandler for a 98-96 lead with 2:26 left.

"You're watching a future Hall of Famer. That's what you're watching," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "If (Paul) stays healthy and continues to play and continues to grow, you're watching a future Hall of Famer. So, enjoy it while you can I guess."

Wells sank a pair from the line and scored on a nifty bounce pass from Paul along the right baseline to give New Orleans a six-point edge at the 1:12 mark.

"I'm still trying to find my way," said Wells, who was acquired from Houston. "But when you have (Paul) on the court, it makes it a lot easier. He makes all of us better, and my hat's off to him because he's just an excellent point guard and an excellent player."

The Hornets held a commanding, 33-13, edge in the fourth.

"We went on a slide in the fourth quarter," Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan said. "A couple of questionable shots we took just seemed to lead to more questionable shots. We tried to play together but the game got physical.

"We weren't able to take care of the basketball vs. their physical play in the, say, last eight minutes of the game. I thought that was the difference."

For the second straight game, New Orleans was without All-Star forward David West, who is sidelined with an injured left ankle.

Ben Gordon had 31 points off the bench and Gooden chipped in 23 and 12 rebounds for Chicago, which has dropped four of its last five games overall.








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