89 - 105 Final
  for this game

Paul leads Hornets to rout over shorthanded Bobcats

Dec 11, 2008 - 5:31 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- The New Orleans Hornets avenged one of their most confounding losses Wednesday, cruising to a 105-89 rout of the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Bobcats dealt the Hornets a 92-89 loss just over a month ago, as Jason Richardson and Raymond Felton scored 20 points apiece to spoil Hornets superstar Chris Paul's homecoming to the state where he grew up.

But without Richardson - who was traded to the Phoenix Suns earlier in the day in a five-player deal that brought over Raja Bell and Boris Diaw - the Bobcats didn't have the offensive firepower to hang with the Hornets. Paul had a perfect shooting night, going 5-of-5 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line to finish with 15 points and 15 assists in just 30 minutes.

"(Hornets head coach) Byron (Scott) took care of his old coach," Bobcats coach Larry Brown said. "He was real good to us. It was like the varsity and the JV. If it wasn't for him being so gracious substituting like he did, I don't know what (the final score) would have been."

David West and Peja Stojakovic led the way with 17 points apiece, while Morris Peterson came off the bench to chip in 16.

The Hornets turned eight steals, 10 blocked shots and 12 Charlotte turnovers into fast breaks and quick scores as they won their third in a row. The Bobcats were only in contention for a few minutes before New Orleans staged a 9-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to take a 33-21 edge. They followed that later in the second with a 10-0 run capped by Peterson's 3-pointer to extend the lead to 17.

"With the offensive power that we have, open shots really kill other teams," Paul said. "We're going to get them (open shots) on a consistent basis just about every night and we've just got to knock down shots and we did that tonight."

The win continued a hot streak for the Hornets, who have recovered from a rough patch earlier in the season in which they dropped five of seven in a two-week stretch. Since then, they have lost just once - and are starting to win in increasingly convincing fashion.

"We've been doing a lot better job defensively the last couple of games," Hornets center Tyson Chandler said. "It's been starting fast breaks and getting us better shots. It was fun out there. It was a good night."

They have opened up the month of December with three straight wins by an average of 16 points. They have surpassed the 100-point threshold in each victory and have caught fire from all over the floor.

This month, the Hornets are hitting 49 percent (111-of-228) from the field, 52.5 percent (31-of-59) from 3-point range and 89 percent (62-of-70) from the foul line.

"They're playing at a really high level," Brown said. "I thought that Chris played great on offense, but he was better defensively. Their bigs challenged every shot. They really did a great job."

Without Richardson to lead on for scoring, rookie point guard D.J. Augustin carried the Bobcats, posting a career-high 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting.

"Honestly, (being shorthanded) makes a team more dangerous," Chandler said. "What happens is you get players who haven't been playing all year that want to prove to the coach that they're deserving of more playing time, and a lot of times they can come out and bring the team energy. I think tonight we controlled that and we jumped on it early."

Charlotte has lost four in a row.

Adam Morrison got his first start of the season in Richardson's absence but failed to make much of an impact. He went 1-of-7 from the floor, finishing with two points and six rebounds.

Chandler added 13 points and 11 boards for the Hornets, registering his first double-double since November 19 - a span of six games.