One of the best games during Chris Paul's first month of his rookie season came against the Atlanta Hawks. After one of the worst performances of his second season, Paul finally will face them again.

Led by the reigning rookie of the year, the New Orleans Hornets look to match their longest home winning streak of the season and avoid falling further back in the Western Conference playoff hunt when they conclude their season series with the struggling Hawks on Wednesday night.

Paul, selected fourth overall from Wake Forest in 2005, had 25 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds to lead the Hornets (27-30) to a 95-92 win over the Hawks (22-35) on Nov. 18, 2005 - his eighth game as a pro.

He missed the season-series finale on Jan. 7, 2006 because of a torn ligament in his right thumb, and also sat out New Orleans' 96-77 win on Jan. 10 with an ankle injury.

Paul, averaging 17.6 points per game, was held to only seven in a 97-89 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday night. Devin Brown, Paul's backcourt mate, didn't score in 19 minutes.

"They were awful - 3-for-8, seven points between the two of them," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "That's not going to get it done."

New Orleans will need a better effort from Paul, who's scored fewer than 10 points in three of his last six games, as it tries to extend a five-game home winning streak. The Hornets have won 11 of 12 at home after losing 10 of their previous 13, and are averaging 104.2 points while holding opponents to 94.6 during their current run.

The Hornets will be trying to bounce back after falling one-half game behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Los Angeles hosts Seattle on Wednesday night.

Against the Cavs, David West scored 25 points and Desmond Mason had 16. Tyson Chandler added 14 with 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who went 8-4 in February.

Chandler had his streak of getting at least 12 rebounds stopped at 15 games. He is averaging 15.8 rebounds in his last 16 games, with New Orleans going 11-5.

The Hawks lost at Dallas 110-87 on Monday night despite shooting 51.5 percent (34-for-66) from the field. They were on the second leg of a tough back-to-back, having lost at home to Phoenix 115-106 on Sunday night.

"We can't get over the hump," said Atlanta coach Mike Woodson, whose team has lost four of five. "More than anything, we were mentally exhausted and did things we shouldn't be doing. We have to grow and learn to push through that."

Joe Johnson's 29 points and Zaza Pachulia's season-high 24 points and nine assists paced the Hawks.

Johnson is averaging 29.5 points in his last four games after scoring a season-low nine in a loss at Chicago on Feb. 20. He was held to 13 points on 6-of-24 shooting in Atlanta's first meeting with New Orleans this season.

The Hawks were held to 33.3 percent (30-for-90) shooting from the field in that game. The only game in which they have shot worse was in a loss to Indiana the previous day, when they made only 32.1 percent (25-for-78) of their attempts.


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