Hornets Sting Warriors 99-89

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

David West and the Hornets knew they could not let up against the Warriors.

And they didn't.

New Orleans held Golden State to 13 field goals while opening a
20-point first-half lead and then coasted to a 99-89 victory Sunday.

"We came out with the right mind-set," said West, who scored
23 points. "We were prepared for them defensively and didn't allow
them to get any control of the game."

Chris Paul scored 27 points as the Hornets pulled within 1½
games of the Southwest Division-leading Houston Rockets. They trail
the San Antonio Spurs, who lost to the Rockets earlier Sunday, by a
game.

New Orleans has won 11 of 14 since entering a 21-game stretch
that features only five opponents with winning records and one road
game against a team above .500. The Hornets' victory over the
Warriors was their third in a row during a four-game home stretch.

"We're right there," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "It's
going to be a tight race until the end of the season. Every game is
critical."

Stephen Jackson led Golden State with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Kelenna Azubuike added 16 points after missing his first eight
shots.

The Warriors, who shot a season-best 56.5 percent against
Philadelphia on Friday, connected on only 13 of 43 attempts (30.2
percent) in the first half. The Hornets led by as many as 23 points
in the third quarter and were ahead by double digits for the second
half until Golden State briefly pulled within nine in the final two
minutes.

Neither team led by more than two points until Paul sparked a
7-0 run in the final minute of the first quarter to put the Hornets
ahead 27-20. In that sequence, Paul hit an outside shot, made a
steal that led to a goaltending call and converted a 3-point play
in transition.

The Warriors never put up much of a challenge the rest of the
way. Their only road victory against a team with a current winning
record came in New Orleans in January, but they did not come close
to matching that effort.

The Hornets usually struggle when Paul and West go to the bench
at the beginning of the second quarter. This time, they outscored
the Warriors 9-2 to go ahead 38-22 before West returned. They
extended the advantage to 46-26 while Paul rested for nearly 9
minutes.

By the time Paul returned, third-year center Hilton Armstrong
already had his first career double-double with 10 points and 10
rebounds. Ryan Bowen, averaging 2.1 points for the season, had six
points and even attempted a wild 14-foot hook shot. It almost went
in, rolling off the rim before Armstrong was fouled on a putback
attempt. He made the two free throws.

Armstrong, starting for the third consecutive game in place of
injured center Tyson Chandler, finished with 14 points and a
career-high 11 rebounds before leaving in the third quarter with a
cut on his right ring finger that required five stitches.

"I was so mad," Armstrong said. "(Golden State's Ronny)
Turiaf went up to dunk it and I blocked it with my finger tips and
barely got it and my finger bent back and hit the front of the rim
and split open. Hopefully I can come back and it will hold up."

Armstrong had five points and one rebound on Friday against
Memphis.

"Last game he got in foul trouble and that kind of messed him
up, but he came back tonight and was aggressive on both ends of the
floor. He played a great game. That's the type of performance we
need from him."

New Orleans led by at least 15 until late in the second half,
with most of the points coming easily. On one possession in the
third quarter, Paul contemplated taking an open 3-pointer, decided
not to and dribbled in place a couple times. When no one came out
to guard him, he finally sank the shot.

Golden State made a modest push late in the fourth quarter,
pulling to 94-83 on an Anthony Morrow layup with 3:42 left. But
West scored inside on the Hornets' next possession and the Warriors
did not get within single digits until the final two minutes.

"We waited to play too late," Jackson said. "You can't wait
and play too late against a good team like that. They kept us out
of the game."

Golden State forward Brandan Wright, coming off a career-high 25
points against Philadelphia, scored only four points.

Notes:

Chandler is out with an ankle injury. Hornets guard Peja Stojakovic (sore back) sat out for the 10th consecutive game. Bowen
sustained a separated shoulder in the first half and did not return.

The Warriors have lost 16 of their last 18 road games.

Golden State scored a season-low 37 points in the first half.


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