Paul Leads Surging Hornets Past Bulls
New Orleans/Oklahoma City 100, Chicago 95
OKLAHOMA CITY, Feb. 1 (Ticker) -- Rookie Chris Paul continues to move the New Orleans Hornets in the right direction.
Paul collected 25 points and 13 assists and Kirk Snyder scored 15 points as the Hornets won their third straight game with a 100-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
On Wednesday, Paul connected on 8-of-11 shots from the floor and 9-of-11 free throws. He also contributed three steals while committing just one turnover.
"The little fella is pretty damn good," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "He just continues to get better and better and at times you just sit back and watch him take over games."
David West nailed a jumper with 6:31 remaining in the fourth quarter, giving the Hornets an 84-75 advantage.
But Chicago fought back, cutting its deficit to 86-83 as Ben Gordon connected on a jumper with just over four minutes left and taking a 90-89 lead with 2:42 to go on a layup by Darius Songaila.
West made a pair of free throws to regain the lead for the Hornets before Paul took the game into his own hands, scoring six straight points to help build a 97-90 edge with 28 seconds to go.
"It was sort of just the way things fell into place," said Paul, who grabbed four rebounds. "The ball would be in my hands with the shot clock running down, so it was either take the shot or the turnover."
"Paul pretty much has his way with us the whole night," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "There are certain rookies who come into this league and are ready to play and he is definitely one of them."
West split a pair of free throws before Gordon's jumper pulled Chicago within 98-93 with 10 seconds left. But P.J. Brown sealed the win by making two free throws in the waning moments.
"Some nights its your night, some nights its someone else," said Snyder, who shot 6-of-13. "I'm out there to play defense and if the ball rotates to me, I'm going to try and knock down those shots. Tonight it was my night."
Rasual Butler scored 14 points off the bench and West added 13 for the Hornets, who shot 43 percent (36-of-82) overall.
"I think we've started to realize that when we see a team making a push, we want to show some resiliency," said Butler, who added two steals. "And let them know that we're not going to give up."
Kirk Hinrich scored 20 points and Songaila added 18 for the Bulls, who shot 45 percent (33-of-73) and committed 17 turnovers.
"Just like Tuesday (against Dallas) we struggled early and in the second half we were able to make a run," said Gordon, who committed four turnovers. "It was just a little to late."