NEW ORLEANS -- As Danny Granger pounded his fist to his chest following his tying 3-pointer, Chris Paul strode straight over to New Orleans Hornets coach Byron Scott with definite ideas about how to respond.
"As soon as Granger hit that shot, Chris came up to me and said, 'Coach, give me the ball,'" Scott recalled. "Chris is a great player, and as they say, great players make great plays."
Sometimes it's that simple.
Paul capped a 27-point performance with a fadeaway 3-pointer as time expired, lifting the hobbled Hornets to a 103-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday.
"As we walked out on the court, I saw Danny was guarding me and I told him, 'Tough shot,'" Paul said. "The shot he hit was just as good. ... I wanted to try to get to the basket but they sort of cut that off, so I threw up a fadeaway and it went in."
Peja Stojakovic hit five 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 26 points for New Orleans, which started the game without David West (back) and then lost center Tyson Chandler (left ankle) late in the second quarter.
Granger scored 30 points in his homecoming to his native New Orleans. His game-tying 3 went down with 2.5 seconds left, setting off a brief celebration by the Pacers. Moments later, Granger was slumped over, hands on his knees, head hanging, as the Hornets mobbed Paul and the crowd erupted following the winning shot.
"Our shooter made a 3 and their shooter hit one to counter," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "It was a great shot -- both of them. What are you going to do? We lost a tough game tonight."
New Orleans led 97-92 after Paul's cross-court pass set up Rasual Butler for an open jumper with 1:16 left. The Pacers responded with Jarrett Jack's 3, then T.J. Ford stole the ball from Paul and converted a tying layup.
Melvin Ely, who entered in the third quarter after Chandler's backup, Hilton Armstrong, left with a sore knee, scored his only point of the game when he made 1-of-2 free throws with 26 seconds left, putting New Orleans up 98-97.
Ford then lost the ball out of bounds and had to foul out with 6.3 seconds to go as Paul tried to dribble away and run out the clock. Paul, who played the last seven minutes with five fouls, hit both free throws to set up the thrilling finish.
"I thought we were getting it to overtime," Granger said. "If [Paul] hadn't made that shot, I thought we had the momentum."
Granger said it was especially disappointing to lose another game on a last shot. When the Hornets (25-13) visited Indiana (15-26) late last month, West took a pass from Paul and hit the wining shot with 2.5 seconds left in a 105-103 game. With West sidelined, Paul provided ensured he wouldn't have to risk fouling out in overtime.
"I wanted no part of overtime," Paul said. "That's a great team we played over there. I don't care what their record says. They gave us two tough games and we hit two big shots to beat them."
Butler had 17 points for New Orleans, hitting three of the Hornets' 12 3-pointers.
Troy Murphy had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Stephen Graham added 14 points, hitting two 3s in the fourth quarter as the Pacers mounted a comeback from a nine-point deficit. Mike Dunleavy and Jack each scored 11 points.
Chandler sprained his ankle when he landed on Ford's foot after going up for a rebound with 3:10 left in the first half. He was replaced by Armstrong, who departed early in the third quarter. Still, New Orleans widened its 56-55 halftime lead during the third period, when Indiana shot 18 percent (4-of-22) and attempted only two foul shots, missing one.
West missed his first game of the season. He averaged 20 points and 7.1 rebounds in the Hornets' first 37 games. Scott said West may also miss Wednesday night's home game against New Jersey. ... Granger has scored 22 or more points in 16 straight games. ... Chandler said following the game that X-rays did not show any breaks in his injured ankle. "I thought it was a lot worse than it is," he said. ... Sean Marks (2 points, 3 rebounds) started for West. ... Ely had six rebounds in the final 15 minutes.