Paul, Hornets sting WarriorsOct 30, 2008 - 6:44 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Chris Paul had 21 points and 11 assists to the lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 108-103 victory over the Golden State Warriors in a see-saw season opener for both teams on Wednesday.
"It was an ugly win but the first game of the season, we'll take it," said Paul, who also had five rebounds and three steals. "They went after us, but they have a really good team. They made a lot of shots, they stuck to their gameplan.
"... I think it showed a lot of grit out of our team. We've got a long, long way to go but to win this game, in the situation on the road, showed we had a lot of fight."
Corey Maggette, who scored 27 points, hit two free throws with 28 seconds left after being fouled by Paul on a scramble for a rebound to give Golden State a 103-102 lead.
Paul came back and drove to the hoop and hit a layup to put New Orleans back on top 104-103 with 17 seconds left. Prior to the hoop, Paul had been 1-of-7 from the floor and 1-of-2 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
"The coach drew up the play and we were either going to win it or lose it right here and I knew my teammates had the confidence in me and I just drove it and luckily I made it," Paul said.
The Warriors committed a turnover with 14 seconds left as an inbounds pass from Stephen Jackson to Maggette went awry and out of bounds.
Peja Stojakovic was fouled with 13 seconds left and hit two free throws to open the advantage to 106-103.
Al Harrington, who was 5-of-17 from the field, missed a 3-point shot, and Rasual Butler was fouled and hit two free throws to ice the victory.
"A great finish, I hope they don't all start this way at least," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "We got off to a rocky start.
"Opening Night, they were jacked up and that's a good team over there. They got so many parts you can interchange and they can just put different lineups out there that can confuse you offensively. I give our guys a lot of credit for sticking to it."
Jackson scored 26 points while playing the full 48 minutes for Golden State. Andris Biedrins fouled out with 1:55 left after collecting 14 points and 12 rebounds. He missed five free throws in the fourth quarter.
"I just think as as a team, the whole team needs to play good," said Jackson, who was 9-of-24 from the field, including 5-of-12 from outside the arc. "I think tonight I've got to take my hat off to my teammates. To say we played against one of the best teams in the West, we competed, we played well for our first game. I'm not happy with losing but I'm happy with our effort."
David West netted 24 points and Stojakovic added 16 for New Orleans.
Without Monta Ellis or Baron Davis who left for the Los Angeles Clippers via free agency, the re-tooled Warriors held their own against the mighty Hornets.
"We had some shots that were flat, but I think all in all tonight was a great performance by our team," said Maggette, who made the leap to northern California via free agency. "This is one of the best teams in the West and, if we'd cut down some turnovers and made some free throws down the stretch, I think we'd have given ourselves an opportunity to win, but I'm impressed with what our team did."
The Warriors kept the game close in the third quarter, trailing by one point with all five players on the floor in double digits.
James Posey's 3-pointer put New Orleans ahead by four points.
Jackson had the Warriors down by one after a pull-up jumper just before the buzzer sounded.
West grabbed rebound and his putback at the start of the fourth had the Hornets up three.
Midway through the quarter, New Orleans pushed the advantage up to six points. A layup by Golden State's Kelenna Azubuike, who had 17 points off the bench in 21 minutes, made it 100-96.
Maggette made two from the line to make it a two-point game with under four minutes to play.
Harrington drove the lane and drew a foul, making one free throw to cut the deficit to 100-99. Maggette made a running layup to give the Warriors a 101-100 lead.
Paul made a free throw to put the Hornets up by one with 1:05 remaining.
The Warriors came back and Jackson had his layup blocked by Tyson Chandler before the shot clock expired. Paul had a wide-open jumper, missed the shot and then fouled Maggette going for the loose ball, setting the stage for the final 29 seconds.
"I felt like I put us in that situation," Paul said. "I had a lot of shots that I normally make and I was missing them. I missed a shot and then I fouled and let them go up one."
Before the game, the team officially signed head coach Don Nelson to a two-year extension.
NEW ORLEANS 108
GOLDEN STATE 103 FINAL
Oct 30 1:12 AM
NEW ORLEANS 85
GOLDEN STATE 84 END, 3RD QTR
Oct 30 12:29 AM
NEW ORLEANS 56
GOLDEN STATE 57 HALFTIME
Oct 29 11:46 PM
NEW ORLEANS 27
GOLDEN STATE 34 END, 1ST QTR
Oct 29 11:12 PM
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