NBA Game Summary - Dallas at New Orleans
(Monday, March 22nd)
Final Score: New Orleans 115, Dallas 99
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Chris Paul tallied all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter and had three assists in his anticipated return to help the Hornets come from 16 points down to beat the Dallas Mavericks, 115-99, at New Orleans Arena.
Paul, who missed 25 games after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, clocked nearly 21 minutes for the Hornets, who broke their three-game losing streak.
Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 28, David West had 25 and a career-best 10 assists, and Morris Peterson chipped in 20 points as the Hornets won against the Mavs for just the seventh time in their last 33 tries.
"I thought this was the best ballgame of the year...our stops were better, the cutting action was better and we seemed to have a better sense of purpose," said Hornets coach Jeff Bower. "They gave us great shots we could knock down, even in the first quarter. It was a very easy game to not play well in after all the traveling so I give our players so much credit for their concentration, their ability to cut the ball and their consistency on every play."
New Orleans used a 23-0 run bridging the end of the second quarter into the third to take control of the game. The Hornets are now 8 1/2 games back of Portland in the Western Conference for the eighth and final playoff spot with 10 games to play.
Jason Terry recorded 24 points off the bench for the Mavericks, who lost for the third time in four games. Dallas, which gave up 35 points off 20 turnovers, sits in third place in the West, one game behind the Denver Nuggets.
"The first quarter we were extremely aggressive and were guarding them (the Hornets) well," said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. "Our undoing was clearly the second and third quarter. Also our turnovers, when you turn it over 25 times for 35 points, it's going to be hard to win a game. The Hornets took advantage of the forced turnovers they created. I just have to give credit to a good team. They drop five in a row and came here tonight ready to play."
Dallas jumped on top 19-5 following Shawn Marion's slam with just under five minutes left in the opening quarter. The Mavericks led by as many as 16 before both teams traded triples in the waning moments. The Mavs finished the frame up, 32-19.
New Orleans trimmed the deficit to six in the second quarter after a West driving layup with 7:14 to go in the half. But after the Mavs got the edge back up to 43-32, the Hornets caught fire. Rodrigue Beaubois hit a layup for a 45-37 Dallas lead, but the Hornets scored the ensuing 23 points. They ended the half up 52-45.
Thornton culminated the scoring with a fast-break layup with 0.8 seconds left in the second quarter. West paced the Hornets with 11 points in the period. A three-pointer by Thornton ended the burst for a 60-45 lead just 61 seconds into the third.
The Mavs went over 6 1/2 minutes without scoring until Dirk Nowitzki nailed a fade-away shot at the 9:56 mark. New Orleans led by as many at 15 before Dallas found its way back on the scoreboard.
Dallas trailed by as few as eight in the frame, but the Hornets went into the final quarter with an 82-70 advantage.
New Orleans led by as many as 21 in the final period before closing the game.
Both teams each shot over 50 percent for the game and exactly 50 percent from three-point range and each tallied 42 points in the paint...Darren Collison, who was starting while Paul was injured, returned to the bench and finished with 16 points and eight assists...Nowitzki ended with 16 points...The Hornets have won six straight at home against Dallas...The Mavs fell to 22-13 on the road.
03/22 23:29:18 ET