Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Hornets stop Cavaliers
New Orleans held LeBron James
to just 15 points
in the 95-89 win.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Chris Paul had 30 points and 11 assists as the New Orleans Hornets overcame recent offensive woes to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 95-89 Monday night.
After starting the season 8-3, the Hornets had lost seven of their last eight games and had scored 80 points or fewer in four of those losses. But they shot 54.7 percent from the field and took advantage of a 41/2-minute fourth-quarter scoreless stretch by the Cavaliers.
Cleveland led for much of the first three quarters and was up 73-72 entering the fourth before the teams swapped the lead nine times in a 31/2-minute stretch.
Cavs hit cold spell
The Cavaliers didn't score from the 9:08 mark until 4:24 remained, misfiring on six straight possessions and allowing New Orleans to build a 7-point lead. Two 3-pointers by rookie Daniel Gibson helped Cleveland tie the score at 89-89 with 2:36 remaining.
Cleveland had a chance to take the lead, but the Hornets' Tyson Chandler blocked a driving shot by LeBron James, and Paul scored at the other end with 1:45 left to put New Orleans ahead for good. Jannero Pargo added a runner in the lane at 1:02 and Paul made two insurance free throws with 19.2 seconds remaining.
James, hounded on defense for much of the game by the Hornets' Desmond Mason, finished with 15 points on 7-of-18 shooting well below his season average of 27.3 points per game and did not score in the fourth quarter, missing all four of his shots.
Snapped losing streak
Cleveland, led by 17 points from Anderson Varejao, fell to 4-2 this season against Western Conference teams. They had won seven straight games against the Hornets, dating to Dec. 23, 2003.
Cleveland led for most of the first half and took their largest lead to that point on a 3-pointer by Gibson that made it 48-41. The Hornets closed the half on a 10-3 run and tied the game at 51-51 on a jumper by Paul with 31 seconds left.
The pattern continued in the third quarter. The Hornets led for 40 seconds before Cleveland jumped back ahead. The Cavaliers' largest lead came with 4:45 remaining, when a drive and basket by James made it 69-62.
Paul almost singlehandedly kept New Orleans close with 11 third-quarter points, including a buzzer-beating 20-footer.
Pargo came off the bench to score 15 points for the Hornets, and Marc Jackson added 14 points. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 15 points for Cleveland.
Hornets owner George Shinn reaffirmed before the game his plans to return the team full-time to New Orleans next season. ... Paul took the floor moments before the game to thank the Ford Center crowd for its support and to encourage fans to vote for the four Hornets on the NBA All-Star ballot himself, Peja Stojakovic, David West and Chandler. ... The Hornets announced the attendance as 19,164, the fifth sell-out of the season for the team and the fourth in Oklahoma City, although small pockets of empty seats were visible in the arena. ... West (right forearm strain), Stojakovic (back spasms) and Bobby Jackson (cracked rib) didn't play for the Hornets, while Drew Gooden (strained left groin) was out for Cleveland and is listed as day-to-day.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.