Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 11/4

Game 1: Sunday, November 4th
Hornets93Final
Nuggets88
Game 2: Wednesday, December 12th
Hornets99Final
Nuggets105
Game 3: Monday, January 28th
Nuggets93Final
Hornets117

Nuggets 93

(26-18, 7-13 away)

Hornets 117

(32-12, 16-7 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:00 PM ET, January 28, 2008

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 22 18 28 2593
    NO 33 30 24 30117

    Top Performers

    Denver: K. Martin 18 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    New Orleans: C. Paul 23 Pts, 9 Reb, 17 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Paul fills stat sheet as Hornets blaze Nuggets, win ninth straight

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Chris Paul emerged from a scrum under the basket, nimbly dribbling out to the perimeter to reset another Hornets possession.

    A jubilant crowd rose to its feet, chanting, "M-V-P, M-V-P!"

    Perhaps local fans are figuring out they don't need visits from players like Allen Iverson to bring them out to the games. They have a star of their own, not to mention one of the best teams in the NBA right now.

    Share And Share A Lot

    Chris Paul has been dishing out assists left and right lately. During the Hornets' nine-game win streak, Paul has reached double-digits in assists in all nine, the second-longest streak in team history.
    Player
    Season
    Games
    Muggsy Bogues1993-9412
    Chris Paul2007-089*
    Muggsy Bogues1994-958
    * -- 17 assists in win vs. Nuggets

    Paul had 23 points, 17 assists and nine rebounds, and the New Orleans Hornets ran away with their ninth straight win, 117-93 over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.

    Down the stretch, the crowd repeatedly chanted superlatives in recognition of a masterful performance by the Hornets' third-year guard, who is New Orleans' best hope for a representative in the All-Star Game when coaches elect the reserves this week.

    Other candidates include center Tyson Chandler and forward David West, as Paul was quick to mention when asked what he thought of the MVP chants.

    "I was thinking they're exactly right," Paul said. "D-West and Tyson might be MVPs."

    Even in a game featuring Iverson, recently elected an All-Star starter, Paul was the best player on the floor. Iverson also scored 23, but had only three assists and got little help other than from Kenyon Martin, who scored 18.

    Hornets coach Byron Scott said he would be "shocked" if Paul wasn't invited to the All-Star Game, but Paul insisted he has other short-term goals.

    "The only thing that's on my mind right now, to tell you the truth, is to get my coaches in the All-Star Game," Paul said. "I'm looking at the standings all day, every day, right now. I think that would be the greatest feeling for me if [Scott] could coach in that game."

    That will happen if the Hornets (32-12) remain in their surprising perch atop the powerful Western Conference until Feb. 3.

    "I am not ready to jump on their bandwagon, but they're pretty good and I'm not sure what weakness they have," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Chris Paul is a great point guard. He can go anywhere he wants to go. They have size, they have shooters, they play as a team, they have a good bench ... . One can argue that have an All-Star player at four positions."

    Monday's matchup also featured a pair of centers vying for a reserve spot in the All-Star Game in Chandler and Denver's Marcus Camby.

    In this game, there was no comparison. Chandler finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds. Camby was a non-factor for most of the first three quarters. He didn't score until he made a free throw with 1:52 to go in the third period. He finished with three points and five rebounds.

    "I definitely feel like I should be in the All-Star Game," Chandler said. "I've worked hard all year, I've helped my team win basketball games and I really feel like that's what being an All-Star is all about. You should be rewarded for good basketball and winning and hopefully the coaches see it in my favor."

    The second-best center in the game was Hornets reserve Melvin Ely, who had 16 points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes.

    Peja Stojakovic hit four 3-pointers and finished with 19 points for New Orleans, and Jannero Pargo and West each scored 13 points.

    Recently elected All-Star Carmelo Anthony missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle, and the undermanned Nuggets struggled to keep pace.

    New Orleans built a 20-point lead in the first half and maintained that margin through most of the second half.

    Iverson's driving layups on consecutive possessions gave Denver a glimmer of hope, cutting the score to 91-76 early in the fourth quarter.

    But with Paul running the offense, the Hornets quickly sealed it with a 12-0 run that started when Paul set up Ely for a score inside and finished when Paul tossed an alley-oop on rookie Julian Wright's dunk.

    New Orleans ended up shooting 51 percent for the game and outrebounded Denver 52-33.

    "You've got to take your hat off to those guys," Iverson said. "They've got great players on their team. They're well-coached. They're going to be tough to handle."

    Game notes


    New Orleans led 63-40 at halftime. ... Linas Kleiza started for Anthony and had 14 points, as did reserve guard J.R. Smith, a former Hornets first-round draft choice. ... Attendance was 15,601, one of the better crowds of the season but about 1,500 short of a sellout. ... The Hornets are 2-1 against the Nuggets this season. They've split two games in Denver. ... New Orleans has won 21 games by double digits and is 20-0 when scoring 100 or more points. ... The Hornets are 16-7 at home, where they've won seven straight. ... Denver has lost six straight on the road and is 7-13 overall away from home.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    DEN
    NO
    Points 93 117
    FGM-FGA 35-82 (.427) 45-89 (.506)
    3PM-3PA 8-26 (.308) 7-21 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 15-18 (.833) 20-23 (.870)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-15 5-22
    Assists 18 32
    Turnovers 19 16
    Steals 10 9
    Blocks 2 4
    Fast Break Points 11 22
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 24 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 2 29

    Top Performers

    Denver
    New Orleans
    Kenyon Martin Martin
    Points: 18
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 23
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 17
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1