Sports

Hornets handle Wizards 92-81

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Posted: Jan 1, 2011 9:31 PM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: Hornets, New Orleans, NBA, Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, David West, Wizards

WASHINGTON -- Trevor Ariza scored a season-high 22 points, Emeka Okafor had 17 points and a season-high 15 rebounds and Chris Paul added 13 points and 11 assists to help the New Orleans Hornets beat the Washington Wizards 92-81 on Saturday night.

Ariza scored 13 points in the third quarter and New Orleans outscored Washington 26-15 to take a 68-62 lead. The Hornets never let the Wizards seriously threaten in the fourth quarter.

Paul also had seven steals and one turnover. Wizards rookie point guard John Wall had 12 points, 10 assists and eight turnovers -- four in the third quarter.

Nick Young led Washington with 24 points. The Wizards, who fell to 0-16 on the road Friday with a loss in Indiana, have lost 16 of 19.

For the first meeting between Paul and Wall, the Wizards unveiled their "Great Wall of Assists" to record the rookie point guard's gaudiest stat.

The Paul-Wall duel was slow getting started. Wall was called for two quick fouls and took a seat barely 2 minutes into the game, and they weren't on the floor together again until 6:54 left in the half.

By then, the Wizards were in the midst of a 17-6 run that began the second quarter and gave them a 43-30 lead with 5:30 to play.

Wall's first-half highlight was a leaping dunk over Paul, punctuated with a split-second hang on the rim with 3:13 to play. Paul returned the favor midway through the third quarter when he stole the ball from Wall and passed to Emeka Okafor for a dunk.

New Orleans coach Monty Williams downplayed the duel before the game when asked about it.

"Nah, I'm looking forward to beating the Wizards. That's about it. I guess it's a nice topic to talk about," Williams said.

Washington coach Flip Saunders wouldn't admit to being eager to see the matchup, he did say that playing against Paul was a good gauge for Wall.

"This guy might be the best of all of them in terms of his ability to control a game and play almost like in slow motion," Saunders said. "I'm anxious to see how John reacts."

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