(Sports Network) – Chris Paul scored 20 points with 11 assists, and New Orleans did just enough down the stretch to hold off Dallas, 99-97.
“That’s a really good team that we just played,” said Paul. “Every good team is going to make their run, but we weathered the storm and pulled it out in the end.”
David West and Marco Belinelli each scored 17 points, Emeka Okafor notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds and Trevor Ariza made it all five starters in double figures with 12 points. The Hornets responded after dropping their first game of the season to the Mavericks on Monday.
Dirk Nowitzki did it all with 29 points and nine rebounds, while Jason Terry added 16 points and seven assists off the bench. Jason Kidd compiled 11 points and eight assists, while Tyson Chandler contributed 10 points and seven rebounds for Dallas, which saw its four-game winning streak halted.
“Our ondoing was the third quarter, when we were dominated,” said Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle. “We lose the quarter by 16 points and we get our ass kicked.”
The Mavericks found themselves in a five-point hole, 84-79, after Belinelli connected on a fadeaway jumper with seven-plus minutes to play. However, the visitors stormed back to tie the game at 88-88 on Jose Juan Barea’s layup with 4:19 to go.
After Ariza made a running jumper, Terry stepped outside and buried a go-ahead trey for a 91-90 game. Dallas then went over three minutes without a field goal, as New Orleans tallied the next seven points capped by Paul’s jumper with 2:14 to go. Chandler made two free throws, then after a rare Paul turnover, Terry drained two shots from the charity stripe for a 97-95 game with 1:03 on the clock.
Paul missed on the other end, but Barea didn’t connect on a go-ahead three- point try with just under 17 seconds to go. Peja Stojakovic, in the game for his foul-shooting prowess, was hit with 13.4 seconds left, but missed the second after making the first, giving the Mavericks hope. After a timeout, Nowitzki connected on a driving layup with 8.7 seconds left.
Kidd then caused a turnover, handing the ball to the Mavericks with 6.2 seconds left. They never got off a shot, however, as Nowitzki turned it over. West was fouled with 1.9 seconds remaining and he made just the second attempt. Again, Dallas did not get off a final attempt before the buzzer sounded.
New Orleans not only worked its way back into the game, but took the lead with a big third quarter. Trailing 52-42 at the half, the Hornets used a 13-0 run spanning the middle portion of the period to take a 66-57 lead. Belinelli and Ariza each made treys during the stretch with Ariza’s triple finishing off the stretch. Paul’s three moments later opened a double-digit advantage, 71-61, but Dallas cut the deficit to four before Paul’s pull-up jumper in the final seconds made the score 75-69.
Barea scored nine points on 2-of-13 shooting with six assists…New Orleans made 48.8 percent of its shots, while Dallas connected on 50.7 percent of its shots…Dallas has lost seven straight at New Orleans.