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 Paul, Hornets snap Grizzlies' win streak at 4

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PostSubject: Paul, Hornets snap Grizzlies' win streak at 4   Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:11 am

MEMPHIS, Tenn.(AP) Chris Paul tied a record
for steals, and his New Orleans Hornets played enough good defense to
pull out a victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.Paul had 18
points, nine assists and five steals, James Posey scored nine of his 15
points in the fourth quarter, and the Hornets beat the Grizzlies 91-84
on Tuesday night.Paul's first steal of the night, off a bad pass
by Memphis' Darko Milicic, tied Alvin Robertson's NBA record of a steal
in 105 consecutive games.The loss snapped Memphis' four-game
winning streak, its longest of the season. The Hornets won for the
fifth time in six games despite struggling from the field at times."We
toughened up at the end and got five big stops in a row,'' New Orleans
coach Byron Scott said. "We made some key baskets. The defense the last
few minutes of the game was the key to the victory.''David West also scored 18 points, but shot 5-of-16. Paul was just 3-of-10 from the field but made 11 of 12 free throws.Rudy Gay led Memphis with 28 points and O. J. Mayo added 20.New
Orleans led by 15 in the first half, but Memphis capitalized on the
Hornets' poor shooting to tie it at 81 with 3:18 left. A 3-pointer by
Peja Stojakovic from the left corner with the shot clock running down
put New Orleans up to stay at 84-81 with 2:52 remaining. That allowed
the Hornets to close the game on a 10-3 run."Peja's big 3 in the
corner hurt us,'' said Gay, who added that 6-foot-1 Memphis point guard
Mike Conley, "played good D on him, but Peja's 6-10. He's one of the
best shooters in NBA history, and he's been hitting those for years.''New
Orleans beat Memphis 106-87 on Dec. 6 after building a 37-16 lead after
the first quarter. While not quite as bad, Memphis again fell behind
early on Tuesday. The Grizzlies missed their last 10 shots of the first
quarter, failed to score in the final 6:48 of the period after tying
the game at 11, and the Hornets closed the period with 15 straight
points.Unlike the game in New Orleans, Memphis didn't quit and
cut into the lead during the second period, then benefited from poor
shooting by New Orleans, including 19 percent in the third."We
just got discombobulated on the offensive end,'' West said, "but we
were able to settle down defensively. We were able to maintain our
composure and make key plays down the stretch to win the game.''The
game was testy, with West receiving a technical for slamming the ball
down when he didn't get a call. Tyson Chandler's fifth foul was
accompanied by a technical when he swiped at Grizzlies guard Kyle
Lowry, who had grabbed Chandler's waist fighting through a pick.By
the end, Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni and Scott were mouthing at each
other down the sideline. Scott declined comment about the exchange
after the game.Despite shooting 24 percent in the first quarter,
the Grizzlies stayed close behind 16 points from Gay and 12 from Mayo.
The Grizzlies made 11 of 14 shots in the second period to cut into the
lead.Paul had eight points despite 1-of-5 shooting as the
Hornets used balanced scoring to build a 49-42 halftime lead. New
Orleans was 16-of-23 at the free throw line, compared to Memphis'
9-of-11.The Hornets were just 3-of-16 in the third but carried a 61-60 lead into the final stanza."(The
Grizzlies) were doing a good job of being aggressive on the
screen-and-rolls,'' Paul said of the Hornets' third-quarter shooting
woes. "A lot of it was we weren't making shots. (Their) pick-and-rolls
really hurt us in that quarter. O.J. Mayo got going, and so did Rudy.''But
in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, Posey continually hit
shots to keep the Hornets close or ahead of Memphis until Stojakovic's
3-pointer kick-started the Hornets' winning surge."They played a
great all-around game,'' Paul said. "But, as a team, we feel like we've
been through a lot of things, and we were able to pull it together in
the fourth.''Notes: The Hornets are now 14-1 when leading after
three quarters. The victory was the Hornets' seventh straight in the
series. New Orleans has won 11 of the last 12 against the Grizzlies.
The 11 first-quarter points for Memphis was a season-low for any period
this season. The Hornets have held eight of their last 11 opponents to
95 points or less. They are 9-2 in those 11 games. Memphis scored at
least 100 points in all four games of its winning streak.

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