NBA Game Summary - Atlanta at New Orleans
(Sunday, December 26th)
Final Score: New Orleans 93, Atlanta 86
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Chris Paul poured in 22 points and dished out eight assists, leading New Orleans to a 93-86 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
David West tallied 18 points, while Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza were forces in the frontcourt. Okafor totaled 14 points and 15 rebounds, and Ariza ended with 12 points and 10 boards for the Hornets, who were coming off a 14-point home win over New Jersey on Wednesday.
"We just got aggressive. In that first half we were not aggressive offensively or defensively," Paul said. "In that second half D. West got going a little bit. We got stops, our defense created the offense."
Joe Johnson had 23 points for the Hawks, who have lost five in a row on the road. Marvin Williams finished with 18 points, while Josh Smith chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Atlanta guard Jamal Crawford, who missed the previous five games with a sore back, had 10 points off the bench.
"It was tough tonight, especially because we were in the game in the fourth quarter," Crawford said. "Chris Paul started to take over scoring and getting guys involved and that's where the game separated."
A three-pointer by Mike Bibby gave the Hawks an 81-80 edge with 7:08 remaining, but the Hornets scored the ensuing 10 points. Jarrett Jack started the burst by banking in a jumper, and West's layup provided an 84-81 edge. Paul's floater made it a five-point difference with 4 1/2 minutes left. Another bucket from West and two free throws from Jack provided a big nine- point cushion with three minutes to go.
Johnson's jumper with 2:02 left and his three-ball 44 seconds later had the Hawks knocking on the door, but the five-minute scoring drought was too much to overcome for Atlanta.
Paul then sank a fade away jumper with 38 seconds left to seal the win.
Williams had nine points in the opening quarter, helping the Hawks to a 27-25 edge after 12 minutes. Johnson scored nine in the second, as the visitors built a 55-46 halftime lead.
Paul was a dominant 6-of-7 from the field for 13 points in the third quarter, when the Hornets grabbed the lead back. Atlanta went 5-of-17 from the field in the period compared to 13-of-21 for New Orleans.
Included in that quarter was a 13-0 run. Paul's jumper capped it for a 63-59 edge with under five minutes left. The Hornets led 74-71 going to the fourth.
The Hornets are 13-3 in the Big Easy this season...Atlanta, which is 3-14 in the past 17 games on the bayou, finished 39.7 percent from the field...Jack had 10 points for New Orleans, which went 2-of-17 from beyond the arc.
12/26 23:14:50 ET