When New Orleans hosts the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, Hornets coach Byron Scott leads his team against the league's stingiest defense.
Good thing he has one of the NBA's most potent offensive weapons in Chris Paul.
With 21 points and 13 assists in Saturday's 100-89 win over Miami, Paul set an NBA record by recording his sixth consecutive double-double of 20 points and 10 assists to begin a season.
"That is very historical for him to be able to pass a name like that that's a Hall of Famer,'' Scott said of the record previously set by Oscar Robertson in 1968. "If he stays healthy and keeps growing as a basketball player, obviously he'll be a Hall of Famer, too."
Paul, who had 19 points and a career-best 21 assists in a 118-104 victory against the Lakers on Nov. 6, 2007, extended his steals streak to 89 straight games with four against the Heat. He leads the NBA in steals (3.3) and assists (11.7).
Paul added seven rebounds in his record-setting night against Miami.
"(20 points and 10 assists) is a very unusual stat," Paul said. "Assists only occur when your teammates do what they are supposed to be doing."
Tyson Chandler posted his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds, David West had 21 nine and Peja Stojakovic hit four 3-pointers and scored 12 against Miami.
After trailing Atlanta by eight after the first quarter of its 87-79 loss on Nov. 5, and scoring only seven points in the second quarter of its 92-89 loss at Charlotte on Friday, New Orleans (4-2) held Miami to 13 second-quarter points as it built an 11-point halftime lead.
"We haven't, for some reason, come out and played with energy," said Hornets swingman Morris Peterson, who received an MRI on his sore left knee on Tuesday and could miss Wednesday's game. "A lot of times we'd be playing to the other team's level instead of playing our game and doing what we do, which has made us successful."
Heading into Tuesday's game at Dallas, Los Angeles' league-leading defense (84.4) was the key to its 5-0 start. But that defense was largely missing through three quarters, as the Lakers trailed going into the fourth for the first time this season.
Los Angeles held Dallas to 39 second-half points and won 106-99 to extend its streak of holding opponents under 100 points to six games
"Nobody panicked," said Kobe Bryant, who scored 13 of his 27 in the second half, including seven in a row during the fourth quarter. "We just kept at it."
Pau Gasol had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrew Bynum added 11 and 10 as the Lakers improved to 6-0 for the first time since their 2001-02 championship season. They are one of two remaining unbeaten teams along with surprising Atlanta.
"We know what we're capable of," said Bryant, who averaged 28.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists against New Orleans last season as the teams split four meetings. "We feel better about ourselves than we did last year. It's early, but we're on the right track."
Trevor Ariza tallied a season-high 13 off the bench and had a pivotal block on a Jerry Stackhouse 3-point attempt in the final minute.
"That's what we do, we try to change the pace of the game, play with high energy,'' Ariza said of the Lakers' bench, which outscored Dallas' 36-20.
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