Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images
Peja Stojakovic hit the game-winning buzzer-beater in the Hornets' double-OT win over the Suns on Wednesday.
New Orleans 132, Phoenix 130
PHOENIX, Feb. 6 (AP) -- Shaquille O'Neal got a look at how entertaining his new team can be.
The result was the same as its been all season, though, for his Phoenix Suns against New Orleans.
The Hornets won.
Peja Stojakovic sank a 22-footer at the buzzer to give the Hornets a 132-130 double-overtime victory Wednesday night, improving their record against the Suns to 3-0, with two of the victories in Phoenix.
"A lucky one,'' Stojakovic said. "I can't say I knew it was going in.''
Chris Paul had 42 points, one off his career high, and a career-best eight steals, but scored only two points after regulation for New Orleans. Jannero Pargo scored 12 of his 22 points in the two overtimes. Stojakovic added 26 points and David West 21 and 13 rebounds for the Hornets, who were without Tyson Chandler because of the flu.
Amare Stoudemire had 26 points and a season-best 20 rebounds for Phoenix. Steve Nash had 32 points and 12 assists, but committed 10 of the Suns' 20 turnovers. Boris Diaw, starting in place of the departed Shawn Marion, scored a season-high 22. Leandro Barbosa also scored 22, including 4-of-5 on 3-pointers. Nash was 5-of-9 on 3s.
"Obviously, it was a great game,'' Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I thought we played as hard as we could play and made some big shots and could have in certain circumstances won the game, but we didn't.''
The Suns forced the second overtime with dramatic 3-pointers by Barbosa and Nash. They almost did it again when Barbosa made a 3 to tie it at 130 with 3.2 seconds left in the second OT.
But after a time out, the Hornets got the ball to the sharpshooting Stojakovic, whose smooth jumper ended it, snapping New Orleans' three-game losing streak.
"It felt like the game was never going to end,'' said Paul, who played 50 minutes and was 1-for-6 shooting in the two overtimes. "The last one Barbosa hit, it just felt like it wasn't for us to win tonight. But we're a team that shows a lot of perseverance and coach finally made the right call by giving Peja the last shot instead of me.''
The thriller came at the end of a monumental day for a Suns franchise that acquired O'Neal in a trade that sent Marion and Marcus Banks to Miami. O'Neal watched from a suite at US Airways Center.
When he was introduced on the big screen to a loud standing ovation, he smiled, stood up and pointed to his championship ring, then gave a thumbs up. The crowd went crazy.
"We are definitely excited about the situation,'' Stoudemire said. "Tonight, we tried to put things aside and get this win. We knew it was a very important win for us, and the Hornets played well.''
The Suns sank two 3-pointers in the final 11.6 seconds of the first overtime. The first, by Barbosa, cut New Orleans' lead to 122-121. After Pargo made the third and fourth of his six consecutive free throws, Nash broke free for an open 3 that tied it at 124 with 8.2 seconds to play.
Paul missed a jumper under tight defense and the game went to the second OT.
"It was unbelievable,'' Hornets coach Byron Scott said, "the 3s they were hitting. We did our part as far as making free throws, but that's the team they are. Barbosa hits a couple of big ones, Steve hits the big one to tie it up. Luckily for us, Peja hit one at the end.''
Nash's 3-pointer from the top of the key put Phoenix ahead 109-106 with 1:02 left in the fourth, but Paul converted a three-point play to tie it again at 109, 51.2 seconds from the end of regulation.
Nash and Stojakovic traded mid-range jumpers and it was tied at 111. Nash turned it over on a double-team, but Paul missed a jumper and the game went to overtime.
The Hornets used a 13-2 run to take a 61-52 lead on West's two free throws with 40.7 seconds left in the first half. Paul scored nine straight points during the surge.
Barbosa made 3-pointer, then West sank a 7-footer and New Orleans led 63-55 at the break.
Phoenix came back to go up 78-75 on a 9-2 spurt capped by Nash's 3-pointer with 1:30 to go in the third quarter, but the Hornets came back with a 10-2 run to go up 85-80 on Paul's 19-footer with 1:14 left. Another basket by Paul gave New Orleans an 87-82 lead after three.
Notes: The Suns will be looking to add another player in the next few weeks, general manager Steve Kerr said. ... Nash had five assists in the third quarter. ... The Hornets' 132 points were the most by a Suns opponent this season. ... Nash moved into 19th on the NBA career assists list with 6,455. ... The three-game losing streak tied New Orleans' longest of the season.