In their most thorough victory of the season, the Hornets crushed the Hawks in Atlanta Friday night 100-59. Chris Paul scored sixteen points and dished out eight assists in leading the Hornets to their seventh straight win. As usual, the defense was superb for New Orleans. Here is more from the AP and

"It's fun to play defense," Paul said. "It's great to score but it's better to shut teams down and see guys sort of frustrated. When you know that you're playing team basketball, it's pretty special."

The Hornets had won three of their last four games after trailing by 12 or more in the second half. No need for any late-game heroics this time.

"Coach told us before the game we showed we can come back from big deficits, but we can't count on that every night," Paul said. "When we got that big lead, that was also something new for us. We had to figure out how to play with the lead, because you can't get lax."

The Hawks, looking totally listless without injured starters Al Horford and Marvin Williams, missed layups, got beat for seemingly every loose ball and played only occasional defense just three days after perhaps their best win of the season, an inspiring 93-89 triumph at Miami.

It was followed by Atlanta's worst home loss since a 118-74 blowout by Phoenix on March 30, 2000.

The Hawks were actually ahead 29-28 after Joe Johnson's layup with just under 6 minutes left in the second quarter. But Drew sensed something was wrong. Very wrong.

"I could not put my finger on it, especially early," the coach said. "I did not see the energy and intensity that I saw at Miami."

He was right.

David West and Marco Belinelli both scored 15 points and Emeka Okafor pulled down 12 rebounds. The Hornets dominated on the boards, 55-32.

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Next up, the best team in the league. San Antonio visits New Orleans tonight for a Western Conference showdown. It will be the last regular season meeting between the Southwest division rivals, as the Spurs took two of three earlier this year. Tip-off at the Hive is set for 7:00.