Wednesday, December 31, 2008
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Paul's triple-double leads Hornets over Wizards

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[December 31, 2008]  NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Chris Paul had 15 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds for his third triple-double of the season, and the New Orleans Hornets beat the Washington Wizards 97-85 on Tuesday night.

Rasual Butler scored 21 points and David West 20 for New Orleans, which led most of the way and never trailed by more than a basket in its third straight victory.

RestaurantAntawn Jamison scored 22 for Washington, while Mike James added 16 points and seven assists against the team that traded him to the Wizards this season. James struggled defensively against Paul, however, fouling out in the fourth quarter, when he also was called for a technical for arguing with officials.

Paul's triple-double was the seventh of his career, tying a Hornets record.

Tyson Chandler had 11 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, while James Posey added 14 points.

New Orleans led 68-63 to open the fourth quarter, then began to pull away when Antonio Daniels, who came to New Orleans in the trade for James, fed West inside for a dunk. That sparked a 6-0 run that put the Hornets up 84-71 with 6 minutes to go.

Jamison's inside basket and free throw during a 5-0 run helped Washington cut its deficit to 84-76, but James was called for a foul on Paul's drive and received his technical while arguing the call. Paul hit both free throws and the technical foul shot, completing a three-point possession that made it 87-76 with 3:49 left.


The Wizards pulled within single digits once more on Jamison's free throw before Paul responded with two foul shots and a fast-break layup to ice the game.

New Orleans hit 10 3-pointers, with Butler accounting for five and Posey four.

Washington was 1-of-9 on 3-point attempts. The Hornets also had the advantage on free throws, hitting 21 of 26 while Washington was 12-of-18.

The Hornets controlled the game early, leading 25-15 after Paul's driving layup. Dominic McGuire's jumper to close out the first quarter started an 8-0 Wizards run that ended when Jamison scored inside early in the second period, cutting New Orleans' lead to 25-24.

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The Hornets briefly rebuilt their lead behind 3s from Posey, Daniels and Butler, and went ahead 38-30 on Paul's crossover dribble and drive down the lane for a finger roll. Washington tied the game again at 41 with another 8-0 run highlighted by McGuire's short fadeaway as he was fouled by Chandler.

After the teams exchanged baskets, Posey's third 3 put New Orleans back ahead with 2.1 seconds to go in the first half, but DeShawn Stevenson drained a 42-foot rainbow heave at the horn to tie it at 46.

Notes: Wizards F Caron Butler (left ankle) missed his third straight game. ... Several members of Alabama's football team, in town for Friday's Sugar Bowl, were roundly booed when introduced and shown on a video board during a timeout. Several Utah players were there as well, but their introduction was drowned out by the boos aimed at Alabama. The crowd then broke into chants of "L-S-U" until play resumed. ... The Hornets recorded their 800th regular-season win in franchise history.

[Associated Press; By BRETT MARTEL]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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