Hornets Win Close One In Houston

Posted: January 14, 2008 in Hornets

After stumbling in the third, the Hornets came roaring back in the 4th quarter to contest the Houston Rockets whom they eventually beat 87-82. The Hornets are now 25-12 and have three winnable games coming up.

HOUSTON, Jan. 13 (AP) — The New Orleans Hornets played their home games in Oklahoma City the last two seasons and their home-court attendance this year is the lowest in the Western Conference.

Maybe that explains why they’ve learned to play so well on the road.

Chris Paul had 19 points and 11 assists and made four free throws in the final 15 seconds to lift the Hornets to an 87-82 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday, New Orleans’ seventh consecutive road victory.

“We just have guys who’ve been in just about any situation,” Paul said. “When you have that energy against you, it pushes us and helps us out a lot.”

The Hornets are 15-5 on the road this season, already matching last year’s win total away from home.

“When we started talking about what we needed to do this season, having a better road record was definitely one of our main focuses,” New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. “These guys are young and when we get on the road, it’s just us, so they seem to really focus a lot better.”

David West scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Hornets, who snapped the Rockets’ five-game winning streak. The Hornets have won seven of the last nine meetings with Houston, a divisional rival.

Not coincidentally, the Hornets’ dominance in the series has coincided with Paul’s three seasons. Last year, Paul averaged 18 points and 11 assists against Houston and New Orleans won three of four meetings.

“He kind of controls how they play,” Houston coach Rick Adelman said.

Yao Ming had 30 points, 16 rebounds and six turnovers for the Rockets, who lost for the third time in the 10 games Tracy McGrady has missed with a sore left knee. McGrady is expected to return for Saturday’s game against San Antonio.

The Hornets trailed most of the second half – outscored 18-2 during a Houston run – until Tyson Chandler stripped the ball twice from Yao late in the fourth quarter, triggering fast breaks. Rasual Butler finished the second one with a dunk with 1:35 left, got fouled and hit the free throw to put New Orleans up 81-78.

Yao and Adelman both said Chandler slapped Yao’s hand on the second steal.

“A superstar is supposed to get calls and he doesn’t get the calls,” Adelman said. “Simple as that.”


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