NBA Game Summary - Denver at New Orleans
(Friday, December 18th)
Final Score: New Orleans 98, Denver 92
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Chris Paul fell a rebound shy of a huge triple-double, as he ended with 30 points, 19 assists and nine boards to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 98-92 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
Paul recorded a season-high in assists and rebounds for the Hornets, who have won two in a row. Peja Stojakovic finished with 24 points, while Emeka Okafor had 12 rebounds to go with nine points and five blocks in the victory.
"We just started getting shots and I got a little bit more aggressive," Paul said. "They can really defend our ball screens, but when we got out in transition, I was able to get into the lane a little bit."
J.R. Smith had 25 points to pace Denver, which played without Chauncey Billups, who was out with a strained groin. Carmelo Anthony shot 5-of-16 and finished 17 points, snapping his string of five games with at least 30. Nene had 15 points and 10 boards as the Nuggets had their three-game win streak broken.
"This was the first time a team has gone after him every time," Denver head coach George Karl said of Anthony. "They doubled him on every opportunity and I think a lot of that had to do with Chauncey not being on the court."
Down by eight at the beginning of the fourth, Denver evened the game with eight points, all from Smith. However, New Orleans responded with two buckets from Paul and a Darius Songaila jumper to go ahead 85-79 with 6:26 to play.
The Hornets' lead stood at 92-84 after Devin Brown's three-pointer with 3:05 on the clock, but Denver got baskets from Smith and Anthony to get within four. Moments later, Anthony hit two free throws to bring the Nuggets within 94-90 with 1:24 left.
However, Paul followed with a jumper, and after Anthony missed two free throws, Paul got an offensive rebound and canned a jumper with 19.2 left to make it 98-90 and effectively seal the victory.
A Paul jumper put New Orleans ahead 25-23 at the end of the first quarter, but shortly into the second the Nuggets went on a 14-0 run. Arron Afflalo capped it with two free throws to put Denver in front 45-31 with about 6 1/2 minutes left.
However, the Hornets trimmed their deficit to 52-46 at the break by scoring 10 of the final 11 points of the half. James Posey scored six of those points.
New Orleans regained the lead with a 10-0 run early in the third, which Stojakovic began with consecutive threes. Paul closed the burst with a jumper to give the Hornets a 61-58 edge with under eight minutes left. Paul then ended the third with a three-point play and a jumper to make it a 79-71 New Orleans advantage.
Paul and Stojakovic combined to shoot 22-of-34 overall...The Hornets were 10- of-15 from the free throw line, while Denver was 17-for-23...Anthony Carter and Afflalo, the Nuggets' starting guards, combined for 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
12/19 00:07:14 ET