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Paul, Hornets silence Thunder

Mar 8, 2009 - 6:45 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Chris Paul collected 21 points, 13 assists and six steals to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 108-90 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

Rasual Butler and Julian Wright added 20 points apiece and David West chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Hornets, who extended their winning streak to seven games.

"Right now all facets of the game are working," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "We're still having breakdowns every now and then on the defensive end as well as the offensive end, but during a 48 minute game you're going to have those lapses. But we're keeping them to a minimum and that's important."

Wright's 20 points matched a career high.

"You know it's his best game by far on both ends," Scott said of Wright. "I thought he played real well. He has some lapses on both ends, but he's a young man that 21 years old. He's going to have times where he loses some focus at times on the defensive end as well as the offensive end. My job is to stay in his butt so he doesn't do it. It was the best game he played all year."

New Orleans' recent surge has moved it into third place in the Western Conference.

"I see guys coming together," Hornets center Tyson Chandler said. "It's that time of the season where the cream rises. We're making our playoff push."

Rookie Russell Westbrook scored 24 points for the Thunder, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

"Chris Paul did his MVP-like thing," Thunder interim coach Scott Brooks said. "He is a great player. They are a terrific team, a playoff team that is fighting for homecourt advantage."

The Hornets opened the fourth quarter with a 23-7 run to take a 99-79 lead with 3:45 left in the game. Wright and James Posey scored six points apiece during the spurt.

"Unbelievable," Paul said of Wright's performance. "Hopefully he just builds off the energy he brought tonight. He brings a different dimension to our team when he comes off the bench in that when Peja (Stojakovic) and those guys are running the break, they're looking for jump shot. When (Wright's) running, we're running for lobs and dunks, and I think the crowd feeds off it and so does our team."

New Orleans shot 54 percent (42-of-78) in the contest and won the battle of the boards, 44-38.

Kevin Durant missed his fourth straight game with a right ankle injury and is not expected back until next week.