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Hornets Crush Nets

Attendance was 15,423 at the Hive Wednesday night. The Hornets must average a little over 15,000 for their next nine home games to void an early escape clause in the club’s lease at the state-owned arena. Those in attendance tonight were treated to a dominating performance by the home team.

The New Orleans Hornets built a lead that was too big to blow in the final seconds this time. Emeka Okafor and Chris Paul made sure of that.Okafor had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Paul added 12 points and 14 assists, and the Hornets beat New Jersey 105-91 on Wednesday night to snap a demoralizing two-game skid in which leads at Detroit and Indiana vanished in the final seconds.

“I felt like this was a game we had to get, not just for morale as a team, but I just felt like we did enough to win those other games and it just didn’t go our way,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said.

Last Sunday, the Hornets lost at Detroit after the Pistons hit a tying 3 with just over 20 seconds left and went on to a narrow victory in overtime. The next night in Indianapolis, David West hit a go-ahead shot with 3.9 seconds left, only to have Mike Dunleavy tip in the winner for the Pacers at the final horn.

“To lose the way that we did the two previous games, you can’t look back on those games, you can’t get them back. The key for us is that in order to get better, we have to learn from those games,” Williams said. “I believe it’s going to help us in the future.”

It certainly helped them tonight. Now, if they could only harness that effort on the road, the Hornets can have a solid 2011.

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