Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 2/22

Game 1: Wednesday, February 22nd
Game 2: Saturday, February 25th
Game 3: Monday, March 27th
Game 4: Friday, April 14th

Hornets 100

(30-25, 11-16 away)

Jazz 95

(26-29, 13-14 home)

    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, February 25, 2006

    EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 26 31 25 18100
    UTAH 23 29 20 2395

    Top Performers

    NO: C. Paul 23 Pts, 2 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl

    UTAH: M. Okur 26 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast

    Paul's 23 points, late FTs lift Hornets past Jazz

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Jazz know all about Chris Paul now.

    Passed over by the Jazz in last year's draft for Deron Williams, Paul had 23 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 25 seconds left, to help the New Orleans Hornets hold off Utah 100-95 Saturday night.

    With the game tied at 95 and the shot clock running down, Paul drove on Williams and was fouled. Paul made both foul shots to give New Orleans a split in back-to-back games against the Jazz.

    "Those free throws were huge. I was nervous. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't," Paul said.

    Paul acknowledged that matching up with Williams makes the game a little more special to him.

    "They compare us so much. You hear an analyst saying I'm better than him, and another saying he's better than me. You take that in because that's my competitive nature," said Paul, who leads all rookies in points and assists.

    In the final seconds, P.J. Brown then stole the ball for the Hornets and Kirk Snyder made two free throws with 5.3 seconds left.

    "It was a winning play. We needed a stop and we weren't having much success on the defensive end. I just anticipated the pass and made the play," Brown said.

    "We really buckled down when we had to. I think P.J. Brown's steal was the play of the game," Paul said.

    The short-handed Hornets got their first win after dropping consecutive games following the All-Star break.

    Williams earned his first start since December after leading the Jazz to an 82-76 victory over New Orleans on Wednesday. But he battled foul trouble trying to stay with Paul and finished with 14 points in 23 minutes.

    David West, who returned after missing the Hornets' two losses to be with his wife and newborn baby, had a dunk to give New Orleans a 95-93 lead. West finished with 20 points and eight rebounds.

    "We got our main guy back and he played like he hadn't missed a beat," Hornets coach Byron Scott said.

    Linton Johnson, who averaged 1.2 points in nine games with the New Jersey Nets before a trade brought him to the Hornets, had a career-high 17 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds.

    "I've been on ice most of the year so I am just excited to get up and down the court," Johnson said.

    Added Scott: "He was really active on the boards and he made some shots. We threw him in there early and he played really well."

    Mehmet Okur led Utah with 26 points and Carlos Boozer had a season-high 15 points in his sixth game back from a hamstring injury.

    Matt Harpring's layup capped a 9-0 run that got Utah within 84-81 in the fourth quarter. Boozer scored with 2:35 to play to tie it at 91.

    Utah's Milt Palacio tied it again with 45 seconds remaining on a fast-break dunk after receiving a spectacular behind-the-back pass from Andrei Kirilenko on a scramble for a loose ball. But the Jazz didn't score again.

    "That was a winnable game for us, especially in the second half. They executed and we didn't on the other end. The crashed the boards; they were active," Okur said.

    Palacio scored 11 for Utah, which has lost four of its last five games.

    The Jazz beat New Orleans 82-76 on Wednesday in a costly game for the Hornets. They lost starting forward Desmond Mason with a bruised tailbone and Jackson Vroman broke his right wrist and will miss the rest of the season.

    The Hornets outrebounded the Jazz, who lead the NBA in rebounding and boasted a much taller lineup, by a 44-34 margin.

    "Size doesn't make any difference. Heart is what makes a difference," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "These guys over there want to make the playoffs more than we do. That's indicated by the way they play, how hard they play."

    Game notes

    Newly acquired forward Marc Jackson, who came with Johnson from the Nets for forward Bostjan Nachbar, played 14 minutes and had four points and four rebounds. ... Sloan coached his 1,400th game with the Jazz. ... Hornets guard Speedy Claxton sat out with a sprained ankle.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 100 95
    FGM-FGA 37-74 (.500) 37-77 (.481)
    3PM-3PA 5-12 (.417) 3-10 (.300)
    FTM-FTA 21-27 (.778) 18-30 (.600)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-44 9-34
    Assists 16 22
    Turnovers 23 17
    Steals 11 8
    Blocks 5 3
    Fast Break Points 11 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 12 1

    Top Performers

    No/oklahoma City
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 23
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Mehmet Okur Okur
    Points: 26
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0