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Paul Carries Hornets Past Mavs

By Ryan Lemoine
Nov. 5, 2009

Chris Paul was the best player in the New Orleans Arena on Wednesday night, as he went 14-23 from the field for 39 points to go along with seven assists, to lead the Hornets past the Mavericks 114-107 in an overtime thriller. David West chipped in as well, going for 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Earlier in the day, Hornets coach Byron Scott got on the team for their sluggish start, mainly their lack of defensive focus. Coming in to the Mavs game, the Hornets were giving up 104.8 points per game, as opposed to just 94.3 per game last year. It seems as if his message was heard loud and clear, as perennial all-star Dirk Nowitzki, who dropped 40 points on the Utah Jazz Tuesday night, fouled out in the fourth quarter of the Hornets game with only 12 points.

The Hornets looked good for most of the game, until they relinquished the lead midway through the fourth quarter. Jason Terry caught fire for the Mavericks in the fourth, finishing with 35 points, and Erick Dampier also had a big night for the visitors, as he finished with 16 points to go along with 14 rebounds. New Hornet Emeka Okafor struggled with Dampier's size all night, and for me, the verdict is still out as to whether trading Tyson Chandler to the Bobcats for Okafor was a wise move.

Luckily for the Hornets, they have a guy named Chris Paul on their side. He looked incredible all night, and very well deserved the chants of MVP that came from the home crowd as the game winded down. However, an offensive foul by Paul late in the fourth quarter almost cost the Hornets the game. With less than twenty seconds to go, Paul shoved off of Jose Barea and was called for the offensive foul. David West was then charged with a technical foul, and down three points, with the Mavs shooting three free throws, it looked as if the Hornets would drop their third consecutive game. However, Jason Terry missed the technical free throw, and Barea missed both of his foul shots. The Hornets then set up a play, and Peja Stojakovic hit his only shot of the night to tie the game at 97, and send it to overtime. The Hornets then rode that wave of momentum into overtime and coasted from there to their fifth straight home win against the Mavericks, in front of a decent sized crowd of 13,566 on ESPN.

For me, it was an exciting early season win, and Hornets fans can only hope that this is the start of something special for this squad. There would be nothing more exciting for the city of New Orleans, than to ride the excitement of a terrific Saints season into a great Hornets basketball season. We've waited a long time to have winners play in this wonderful city, and it's great to be able to witness it all as it unfolds.