for this game

Bulls cruise past Paul-less Hornets

Feb 5, 2009 - 6:06 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Life without Chris Paul is not pretty for the New Orleans Hornets.

Derrick Rose led six players in double figures with 21 points as the Chicago Bulls topped the shorthanded New Orleans Hornets, 107-93, on Wednesday.

Chicago raced to a 29-13 lead and never looked back as it improved to 4-2 on its current seven-game road trip. Ben Gordon scored 19 points and Tyrus Thomas recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards.

"We were fortunate (they were) without Chris (Paul) but our demeanor and our approach to the game was very positive, and it was another good road win for us," Chicago coach Vinney Del Negro said.

New Orleans had a tough go of things on the offensive end without Paul, who suffered a minor groin strain against Portland on Monday and is listed as day-to-day.

"You get prepared for the worst and if you get some good news like we did, then it makes you feel a little bit better," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "Day-to-day is a whole lot better than (being sidelined until) after All-Star weekend.

"But we're still going to be very cautious with CP, making sure that when he does come back that there's no effect from the injury, that he can play at 100 percent."

The Hornets received 24 points apiece from Peja Stojakovic and David West but shot 36 percent (29-of-80) as a team and trailed, 62-44, at halftime.

After being outscored 42-17 without Paul in a 97-89 loss to the Trail Blazers, the Hornets picked up where they left off against the Bulls.

"We were just running and playing our type of game," Rose said. "We were pushing it and playing defense. We have to do that more often."

But while New Orleans struggled on offense, it was a sieve-like defensive effort in the first half that helped Chicago take control. The Bulls shot a season-high 56 percent (41-of-73) for the game and made 63 percent from the field in the first half.

"Hilton (Armstrong) and Melvin (Ely) have to do a much better job," Scott said. "I thought it was a big hole (in the middle). Neither one of those guys gave us anything on either end. Their first 10 points were layups or dunks. We've got to take more pride in protecting the paint."

After trailing by as many as 22, 86-64, early in the fourth quarter, New Orleans did manage to cut the deficit to 95-85, with four minutes left.

However, Chicago reeled off a mini 7-2 spurt to thwart the comeback and win for the fourth time in fives games.

"I think you've got to give our defense a little bit of credit, but I think we still had a little bit too much middle penetration especially in the second half but overall our effort was consistent," Del Negro said.

Devin Brown had a good night off the bench for the Hornets, who are in the midst of a season-worst four-game losing streak. The guard's 17 points fell one shy of his season-high and he recorded a season-high seven assists.