(13-7, 6-4 away)
(10-13, 5-6 home)
12:30 PM ET, December 14, 2008
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON
They limited Paul's penetration, but couldn't stop the New Orleans Hornets point guard from finding open shooters on the perimeter.
Rasual Butler scored 16 points and Paul added 12 points and 12 assists for the Hornets.
Paul didn't take long to pick up on Toronto's strategy and made the Raptors pay, feeding Posey for five 3-pointers in the first half.
"We noticed early in the game that when I was getting in the lane they were collapsing and wouldn't let me get to the basket," Paul said. "That's why our team is built for that. We have some great shooters. Pose shot the lights out in the first half."
Butler had four 3-pointers for the Hornets, who went 12-for-33 from beyond 3-point range. New Orleans leads the NBA in 3-point shooting.
"When those guys start knocking down shots, then when we get in the lane they don't know whether to help," Paul said. "You've got to give up a layup to me, or a 3 to those shooters. That's what makes our team so dangerous."
Toronto coach Jay Triano said Paul "controlled the game."
"If he didn't get the pass that led to the 3, they made one more," Triano said. "You have to be aware of where he is all the time. He's got nice pieces to throw the ball to and he can pick you apart."
Paul extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one steal to 104, and can match Alvin Robertson's NBA record when the Hornets visit Memphis on Tuesday.
Paul's streak was in jeopardy until he swiped the ball from Jermaine O'Neal with 5:48 left.
"This will probably be the one I remember the most because I guess I didn't expect to get one," Paul said. "Over the course of the game there's so much going on that when it's close like that you're just thinking about getting a win."
"We had a chance to win against a pretty good team," Calderon said. "It's tough to guard Chris Paul and everybody has to be involved."
O'Neal added 19 points for the Raptors, who were shooting for their first three-game winning streak since a 3-0 start. Toronto is 5-6 at home.
"It's been a little tough for us because we haven't been home this month," Bosh said. "We just have to put something together, get some confidence at home."
Bosh made two free throws to make it 94-89 with 1:24 left, but Butler put in his third 3-pointer of the quarter to build New Orleans' lead back up to eight.
"It helps that we have one of the best point guards in the game," Butler said. "You have to respect his game and try to stop his penetration, along with David West picking and popping and posting up and scoring in the paint. When those guys get rolling, it kind of opens the floor up for the rest of us. When we hit shots, it's just a good system."
Toronto led 42-34 on Calderon's jumper with 5:08 left in the second, but New Orleans closed the half on a 17-4 run, including a pair of 3-pointers by Posey, to take a 51-46 lead into the break.
"We have very unselfish guys on this team," Posey said. "We just tried to make the right pass and the extra pass and today was good for us because the shots fell."
Bosh's jumper and a 3 from Calderon cut it to 63-62 midway through the third quarter, but Posey responded with a 3-pointer and a lay-up as the Hornets pushed the lead to six points. New Orleans led 80-72 heading into the final quarter.
Toronto guard Anthony Parker, who missed two games with a sprained ankle, returned to the lineup but didn't start for the first time in 176 career games with the Raptors. ... Posey made a career-high seven 3-pointers against Washington on Dec. 15, 2006. ... Posey was called for a technical foul in the final minute of the first half. ... Toronto signed free-agent center Jake Voskuhl. The eight-year veteran has averaged 4.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 412 with Chicago, Phoenix, Charlotte and Milwaukee. He played 44 games for the Bucks last season.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||36-75 (.480)||31-77 (.403)|
|3PM-3PA||12-32 (.375)||8-24 (.333)|
|FTM-FTA||15-16 (.938)||21-24 (.875)|
|Fast Break Points||7||2|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (1/0)||17 (0/0)|