Stojakovic, Hornets crush lowly TimberwolvesApr 10, 2008 - 4:29 AM By Peter Kapsner PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) - New Orleans Hornets coach Byron Scott made good on his promise.
Peja Stojakovic scored 24 points to lead five others in double figures to help the Hornets bounce back with Wednesday's 122-90 thrashing of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
David West scored 22 points and Chris Paul chipped in 19 and 16 assists for the Hornets, who established a franchise record with 55 wins, surpassing the 1996-97 mark when the club was located in Charlotte.
"It's a great accomplishment," Scott said. "It's something we talked about the last couple of weeks and make sure we got that done and celebrate that. It was good that we were able to come out here and get that done after the way we played last night, which wasn't very good. It's something we have to build on."
The win also keeps New Orleans (55-23) atop the loaded Western Conference standings with four games remaining in the regular season.
The Hornets' offense exploded in the third quarter as the trio of Stojakovic, West, and Paul combined for 18 through the first six minutes to forge a 69-62 lead. Paul's 3-pointer at the buzzer capped the impressive period as New Orleans held an 89-73 heading in the fourth quarter.
"(Paul) get them a good shot most of the times down the floor, they are playing at a high level right now," Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman said.
Hornets center Tyson Chandler feels Paul should win the MVP this season for his many accomplishments.
"Just because of what he's able to accomplish this year as far as obviously taking us to the best record in the (West) right now," Chandler said. "No one saw that coming. It's really a breakout season. My MVP is about making everyone around them better.
"When you look at those guys who are in the top of the MVP candidates, he's the top because he makes everyone around him better. From 2-5 on the floor, he's making better. That's why he gets my vote."
The Hornets' third-quarter outburst secured Scott's promise of 55 or more wins this season.
Rashad McCants had 23 points and Randy Foye added 20 for the Timberwolves, who shot 48 percent (36-of-74) en route to their sixth straight loss.
"It has been a tough schedule - in and out," Wittman said. "We leave again (Thursday) for three games. This is not one of those schedules you would want going down the stretch (if you are) fighting for a playoff spot."
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