Hornets Hand Knicks Fifth Straight Loss
New Orleans/Oklahoma City 109, New York 98
NEW YORK, Jan. 21 (Ticker) -- Although the New York Knicks have a solid trio of rookies, Chris Paul continued to show that he is the class of all first-year players.
Paul collected 27 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds as the New Orleans Hornets won for the fifth time in six games by posting a 109-98 triumph over the sliding Knicks.
The fourth overall pick in last year's draft, Paul leads all rookies in points and assists. He displayed both aspects as he scored 20 points in the first half. However, the game remained close as the Hornets took a 56-51 lead to the break.
"I love the kid," New York coach Larry Brown said. "I begged my friends who had earlier picks than New Orleans to draft him. He's phenomenal."
"Chris really got going in the first half," Hornets forward David West said. "He was getting a lot to the rim and really putting pressure on them to get back. Then eventually when all the attention is on him, other guys are going to get opportunities to knock down shots."
Paul then showed his playmaking abilities by dishing out eight assists in the third quarter when the Hornets broke open the game.
"He was well-adjusted in October," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "He's just having fun. He's playing hard and he knew this was a game that we had to win."
"He's an unbelievable talent," West added. "He's got a motor. He doesn't get tired. It's up to us to keep up with him."
Paul, who posted his 12th double-double continued his impressive play since tearing a ligament in his right thumb two weeks ago in Portland. He was expected to be out a minimum of two weeks but missed only one game and has averaged 28 points and 8.8 assists in his last five contests.
"They said he was going to be out a minimum of two weeks and he misses one game," Scott said. "It just shows you the type of person that he is. He's doing some unbelievable things for this basketball team. It just shows the type of character (he has)."
"He was quick," Knicks guard Jamal Crawford said. "He does a good job of using his bigs and gets in the lane. He causes havoc."
After opening the period with a 10-5 advantage to give them a double-digit lead, the Hornets reeled off an 8-0 run, capped by a jumper by Speedy Claxton that made it 85-67.
West and Desmond Mason scored eight points apiece in the period and finished with 19 and 16, respectively.
"Our shooting and our passing led us to another victory," Hornets forward P.J. Brown said. "We were definitely focused tonight."
The Hornets opened their largest lead at 94-73 on Rasual Butler's 3-pointer with 9 1/2 minutes to go.
New York answered with a 13-2 burst get within 99-90 at the 3:34 mark, but the teams began to trade baskets and a 3-pointer by J.R. Smith sealed the win for the Hornets (20-20), who climbed back to .500.
Frye scored 18 points and Jamal Crawford added 14 but also had six of the 19 turnovers committed by the Knicks, who were without star point guard Stephon Marbury for a third straight game because of a shoulder injury.