Paul, Hornets Top Timberwolves
New Orleans/Oklahoma City 84, Minnesota 80
OKLAHOMA CITY, Nov. 23 (Ticker) -- Chris Paul did not play like a rookie.
Paul had a huge second half and finished with 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the New Orleans Hornets rallied for an 84-80 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With the game tied, 74-74, Paul drilled a wide-open 3-pointer with 2:09 left. The rookie later found P.J. Brown for a jumper, pushing the lead to 79-76 with just under a minute to play.
"Chris was very aggressive in the second half," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "But he's got to look for his own shot instead of passing up open looks."
Minnesota trailed, 82-80, with 5.8 seconds to play when Kevin Garnett stole the inbounds pass from David West but missed an easy potential tying layup. West rebounded the miss and was fouled, sinking a pair of free throws to seal the victory.
"I had a mental lapse," said West, who went 4-of-4 from the free throw line. "I thought Speedy (Claxton) was going to crack open, but Garnett got his long arms in there. But he missed a layup and we were able to knock down free throws down the stretch."
West had 22 points and a career-high 13 rebounds and Brown added 13 and 10 for the Hornets, who shot 2-of-15 from 3-point range but nevertheless ended their seven-game slide against the Timberwolves.
The Hornets trailed by as many as 18 points but outscored the Timberwolves, 24-14, in the third quarter. Paul scored 19 points in the second half.
"Chris Paul broke us down pretty good. He reminds me a lot of Stephon (Marbury)," Garnett said. "He has a lot of natural ability. He's a pit bull, I like the fact he's carrying his team on his back."
Garnett had 24 points and 11 rebounds and Troy Hudson scored 17 points off the bench for Minnesota, which failed in a bid for its first three-game winning streak of the season.
"I didn't make too many shots in the second half," said Garnett, who shot 9-of-18 from the field. "I carry this team every night, and I didn't make the baskets keep us in it like I should have."