Paul, Hornets Outlast The Bobcats
Charlotte 103, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 86
OKLAHOMA CITY, Jan. 02 (Ticker) -- Rookie Chris Paul and David West were too much for the Charlotte Bobcats to handle.
Paul had 24 points and 11 assists and West added 20 and nine rebounds as the New Orleans Hornets snapped their two-game slide with a 103-86 victory over the Bobcats.
Without the services of rookie forward Sean May, 2005 Rookie of the Year Emeka Okafor and center Melvin Ely, Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff was forced to play a smaller lineup.
"That really hurt us on the offensive boards down the stretch," Bickerstaff said. "Our guys played their tails off, and that's the best they could do in that situation."
"We had to be conscious of where they were on the floor," said West, who made 10-of-15 shots. "We weren't able to switch off much because they have guys in the corners that can make shots. We played some small lineups ourselves and we were successful with that."
Brevin Knight's jumper with 5:12 remaining cut Charlotte's deficit to 86-80. But over the next 90 seconds, Paul hit a jumper, P.J. Brown dunked and West made a layup for a 92-80 advantage.
"I just tried to show these young guys I still got a little juice left in the tank," said Brown, who had 16 points and seven rebounds. "Fifteen years ago the tank was full, but now it's at about one-quarter full. As long as we give 48 minutes of effort, and we are playing at home, I like our chances against anyone in this league." "The tempo of the game changed in the second half," said Knight, who scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half. "Their thing was to not let me get points, so I tried to get other guys involved. We just didn't make enough baskets to win tonight."
After two free throws by Primoz Brezec, Paul drilled a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 95-82 with 2:26 left. A minute later, Mason brought the crowd to its feet with a thunderous one-handed dunk.
The Hornets shot 47 percent (37-of-78) from the floor.
Knight scored 19 points and Bernard Robinson added 11 and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who shot 27 percent (6-of-22) from the arc and committed 20 turnovers. Charlotte has lost two in a row.
Hornets second-year guard J.R. Smith did not play due to Scott's displeasure with his effort in practice.
"His work ethic is not as good as it should be," said Scott. "I said a couple weeks ago that he wasn't playing well and if it continued I was going to have to make some changes. Today I thought it was the perfect time to do that."