Hornets Defuse Rockets
New Orleans 91, Houston 84
HOUSTON, Nov. 5 (Ticker) -- Veteran P.J. Brown and rookie Chris Paul displayed a never-say-die attitude at the proper time for the New Orleans Hornets.
Brown collected 18 points and 13 rebounds and Paul scored 15 points to lead the Hornets to their second victory of the season, a 91-84 triumph over the shorthanded Houston Rockets.
After David West sank a pair of free throws, Yao Ming broke the Hornets' streak with a hook to bring the Rockets within 85-84 with 1:14 left. However, Paul followed with a pair of jumpers and two foul shots in the final minute to seal the victory.
"At the end of the game, I like to have the ball in my hands," Paul said. "But if I can't, I'd like for P.J. to have it."
"We knocked off a very good team tonight," Brown said. "With (Tracy) McGrady out, we knew they were going to try to run their offense through Yao (Ming). He's a rhythm post player and we just wanted to disrupt that rhythm. We wanted to have guys stabbing at the ball."
Despite making 2-of-21 shots and scoring 13 points in the third quarter, the Hornets stayed within striking distance and rallied for their second straight comeback victory against Houston. In their last meeting April 1, the Hornets topped the Rockets after trailing by 18 points.
"I knew if we could hang around, we could have a chance," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Neither team could throw the ball in the ocean. We had a great defensive stand at the end of the fourth quarter. Chris kept the ball in his hands and made the shots."
Speedy Claxton came off the bench to score 14 points, West added 12 and Nachbar 10 for the Hornets, who committed just eight turnovers.
Playing without two-time scoring champion McGrady, who has back spasms and could be out of action for three weeks, Houston struggled in the final period, scoring just 13 points on 5-of-23 shooting.
"I don't think it was our problem," Rockets guard David Wesley said. "We created an eight-point lead and we didn't execute the way we executed to get that lead. We didn't knock down shots. We just weren't very aggressive."
Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy was frustrated by his team's play down the stretch.
"As much as anything, you have to credit their defense. Our tunovers went up based on very poor decisions," Van Gundy said. "They fought for the ball harder than we did and right now, we're not a finishing team. That's a coaching problem more so than a player problem and right now that's on me."
Yao scored 20 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked seven shots and Derek Anderson scored 17 points for the Rockets, who have split their first two games.
"Speedy and Paul did a good job of cracking our defense," Wesley said. "There was a lot of penetration tonight. We were kind of out there doing nothing."