NBA

Fri, Nov 5, 2010 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Paul, Okafor lead Hornets past Heat

Chris Paul had 13 points and 19 assists in the Hornets win against the Heat.
Share This Story

   
 

NEW ORLEANS (AP)

If all Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets had done was race to a franchise-best 5-0 start, that would be surprising enough.

Doing it with a rookie coach one season after missing the playoffs, and beating the Miami Heat's All-Star trio in the process adds a little more sizzle to their hot start.

Heat or 3peat

East vs. West

The Lakers may be eliminated, but the Heat are still shooting for the NBA Finals. Visit Heat or 3peat Central

''We just got to keep playing, man. I'm not surprised just because we're all professionals,'' Paul said. ''It doesn't matter what it looks like on paper, you just have to go out and play the game and that's what we're doing.''

Emeka Okafor evoked memories of his dominant college days at Connecticut with a season-high 26 points and 13 rebounds, Paul had 13 points, 19 assists and five steals, and New Orleans held on for a 96-93 victory over Miami on Friday night.

''Mek was outstanding tonight,'' Paul said. ''Every time he stepped out on the court, he played with a lot of passion and I think when he gets going, we all feed off of him. He just played a great game.''

Paul's ability to dribble through traffic and distract defenders helped him get the ball to Okafor for a couple dunks, one on an alley-oop. But Okafor did a lot of his own work while going 12 of 13 from the field, spinning into the lane for a jump hook and tipping in one of Paul's misses.

Okafor credited teammates for getting him involved in the offense early.

''That's important. It gets you going, gives you energy,'' Okafor said. ''When you're involved in the offense and you're getting that ball, you just feel more engaged and all of a sudden your rhythm's up, your legs have more spring.''

David West added 15 points, including crucial free throws with 7.2 seconds to go after Chris Bosh's 3 had pulled Miami within 94-93. Dwyane Wade then gave up a potential tying 3-point attempt and passed to Eddie House, whose shot rimmed out in the final seconds.

''He got a great look,'' Wade said of House, a 3-point specialist. ''We'd live with that shot every game if we had to. He's a great shooter. Unfortunately it just didn't go in.''

Miami did not take its first lead until LeBron James' free throws made it 90-89 with 59.8 seconds left, but the Hornets responded with Marco Belinelli's free throws, and then Trevor Ariza's 3.

''One thing we have to continue to learn, that every time we step out on the basketball court, no matter who we're going against, we can't just show up, you know, because we have this uniform on, because we have who we have on the court,'' James said. ''We have to play and it's not about Xs and Os, it's about the energy level.

''We know we can still make a comeback because of the talent that we have, but teams are always going to be excited to play us,'' James continued. ''If we don't match that effort early, then it's always an uphill battle throughout the whole game and that's what it was.''

Wade led all scorers with 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, and went 13 of 13 from the foul line.

New Orleans led 86-79 inside the final five minutes when Wade ignited Miami's late surge with a 3. He then drew Belinelli into a foul on another 3-point attempt and made all three free throws to cut it to 86-85.

Paul set up Okafor for a basket inside, and the Hornets appeared ready to put it away when Paul used a crossover dribble to create space and drove in for an apparent floater off the glass. However, officials called Paul for a charge and then Paul's animated response drew a technical foul.

Soon after, James, who had 20 points and 10 assists, finally put Miami in the lead, and it appeared that the dream start of first-year Hornets coach Monty Williams was about to end.

Best and worst

The Miami Heat's season could be stupendous or disastrous. Either way it will be historic. Charley Rosen imagines a best-case scenario and worst-case scenario.

Paul and Co. had other ideas.

''It's nice to be part of a group who plays hard every night,'' Williams said. ''Different guys are stepping up. ... The start is great, but we are going to win a lot of games if we play defense like that.''

New Orleans shot 49 percent while holding Miami to 42 percent. Ariza finished with 13 points for New Orleans and reserve Jason Smith had 12.

Bosh had 15 points for Miami and Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 10. The loss meant James played more than 41 fruitless minutes and Wade 40, one night before they were scheduled to play again at home against New Jersey.

Notes: James said before the game that he had seen Cleveland's mock version of his Nike ''What should I do'' ad campaign. He offered only a brief, unemotional assessment: ''It was all right. They could have done a better job.'' ... The Hornets also mocked James' made-for-TV ''Decision'' segment, only with the decision being made by mascot Hugo the Hornet. With the Fletcher Mackel, sports anchor for NBC affiliate WDSU-TV, handling the interview, it played on the arena's large video board to mild laughter. ... Attendance was announced as an overflow sellout of 17,988, and the crowd included Saints players Drew Brees, Darren Sharper and Tracy Porter, as well as rap artist Lil Wayne, who was released from jail this week.

Tagged: Pelicans, Heat, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, James Jones, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Chris Paul, Jason Smith

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..