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Hornets Hammer Hawks

New Orleans beats Atlanta on the hardwood Sunday night. New Orleans sports fans hope it happens on the football field Monday night. Chris Paul took the initiative in the second half to score for the Hornets. His play, coupled with superb team defense, and terrific rebounding from Emeka Okafor, fueled New Orleans to a big second half. The result, a 93-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. Chris Paul usually takes his own initiative, but assistant coach Mike Malone and teammate Jarrett Jack had a suggestion for him at halftime.

“I told him, ‘Hey, you have to be a scorer for us. Our offense is kind of stagnant there. You’ve got to be aggressive and be ready to score,” Hornets guard Jarrett Jack said.

Paul proceeded to score 13 of his 22 points in the third quarter and New Orleans outscored Atlanta 28-16 on its way to a 93-86 victory Sunday night.

Paul was 10 of 17 from the field and also had eight assists.

“That was just Chris Paul being Chris Paul,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said.

Hornets forward David West scored 18 points, Emeka Okafor had 14 points and 15 rebounds, Trevor Ariza added 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Jack had 10 points.

Joe Johnson led Atlanta with 23 points, Marvin Williams had 18, Josh Smith added 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Paul’s third-quarter scoring helped give the Hornets a 74-71 lead entering the fourth quarter. They outscored the Hawks 47-31 in the second half.

“Chris Paul started to take over, scoring and getting guys involved,” Crawford said, “and that’s where the game separated.”

Crawford summed it up perfectly. Attendance at the Hive was 15,226. If that continues the Hornets will meet the attendance benchmark set to end in less than a month. New Orleans won their fourth straight at home, and are now 13-3 in Louisiana. Outside of the state is where the problem has been. Maybe the lowly Timberwolves is what the doctor ordered. Of course, the same thing was said about the Pistons and Pacers last week, and the result was the same, two more road losses. The Hornets travel to Minneapolis for a Monday matchup against the T-Wolves.

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