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Paul, Hornets sting shorthanded Suns

Dec 4, 2008 - 5:43 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Chris Paul recorded a double-double and the New Orleans Hornets used a third-quarter surge to post a 104-91 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

Paul scored 24 points and added 15 assists and three steals for the Hornets.

Peja Stojakovic made five 3-pointers and finished with 24 points and David West added 23 and 14 rebounds for New Orleans, which has won five of its last six games.

Amare Stoudemire scored 26 points and Leandro Barbosa added 19 for the Suns.

Phoenix played without point guard Steve Nash and center Shaquille O'Neal. Nash was out because of flu-like symptoms and O'Neal sat out because the Suns play again on Thursday in Dallas and he has been given nights off in back-to-back situations to stay fresh.

"I told them at the beginning of the game, 'don't take them lightly,'" Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "They (Phoenix) are like wounded animals so they are going to be even more dangerous and if we come in taking them lightly we are going to be in even more trouble."

Despite being shorthanded, the Suns hung tough and had a 63-60 lead in the third quarter. The Hornets erased the deficit and took control of the game with a pair of runs.

"We still played in some spurts," Scott said. "I thought that the first team gave us a great boost and normally our second unit had done pretty well all season, they came in and were flat and allowed them to get right back into the game."

Stojakovic hit a pair of 3-pointers in an 11-1 burst and he then ignited an 11-2 spurt with a three-point play as New Orleans took an 82-69 lead into the fourth.

"When Peja's left open I never think he's going to miss, that's why when he does I usually yell at him," Paul said. "When teams see that he's open you can look at the opposing coach and they usually put their head down. When he's shooting like that we're almost unstoppable."

With the win, the Hornets improved to 8-0 when scoring 100 or more points and 10-1 when leading after three quarters. New Orleans has won six straight over Phoenix dating to last season.

Grant Hill scored 17 points and Matt Barnes added 13 off the bench for the Suns, who were outrebounded, 46-30, and allowed the Hornets to grab 17 offensive boards.

"New Orleans played well," Hill said. "Certainly, the first thing when you look at the stat sheet is offensive rebounds and points off offensive rebounds. That made it more difficult, giving them more possessions."