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Hawks rally against Hornets in third, come up short

OKLAHOMA CITY -- One night after struggling badly in a loss to Cleveland, the backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Brown came through for the New Orleans Hornets.

Paul had 24 points, 13 in the fourth quarter, and 13 assists, while Brown scored 19 points as the Hornets beat the Atlanta Hawks 107-100 Wednesday night.

Paul had just seven points and Brown was scoreless in the road loss to the Cavaliers on Tuesday.

"I haven't been shooting the ball, really, at all, and I wanted to come out and be aggressive," said Brown, who took only two shots against the Cavs. "One thing I wanted to do tonight is come out and answer the bell."

He hit two 3-pointers to start the game and had 14 points in the first half. Paul did much of his damage later, after the Hawks had tied the score at 80 early in the fourth quarter. He hit a 3-pointer during a 10-0 run, capping the spurt with an assist on an alley-oop dunk by Tyson Chandler, who finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Paul then scored the Hornets' next six points and assisted on another basket.

"I was just taking what the defense gave me," Paul said. "Finally I hit a 3 and it sort of opened things up for me."

David West had 17 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans. The inside play of West and Chandler helped the Hornets outscore Atlanta 22-2 on second-chance points.

New Orleans also outscored the Hawks 30-12 at the free throw line and sealed the victory by going 7-of-8 from there in the final 32 seconds. Paul had two big ones with 14 seconds left after Atlanta had gotten within 103-100 on a 3-pointer by Salim Stoudamire.

"Chris Paul comes up with a big performance. He's a tough little player," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "Tonight he makes play after play down the stretch. We get close, he would close the door."

Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 27 points. Josh Smith had 17 points and nine rebounds.

New Orleans began the night a half-game behind the Los Angeles Clippers in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. After faltering late against the Cavaliers, they made enough plays late to win this one.

"We talked about it coming out of one of the timeouts -- we can't let this one get away from us," Paul said.

The Hornets led by nine at halftime, then made only five field goals in the third quarter as the Hawks rallied. Johnson scored Atlanta's first six points and had 11 in the quarter, including a 3-pointer that started an 8-2 run late in the period that gave the Hawks a brief one-point lead.

The Hawks shot 72 percent (13-of-18) from the field in the first quarter, led by Marvin Williams, who was 4-of-5. But they only led by three at the end of the period, as the Hornets grabbed seven offensive rebounds and scored eight second-chance points.

Game notes
The double-double was Chandler's 10th straight. ... Brown tied a career high with four 3-pointers, all in the first half. ... The victory was the Hornets' 12th in the past 13 home games. ... Hawks rookie forward Shelden Williams, who played high school ball at nearby Midwest City, didn't have much of a homecoming. He played 4 1/2 minutes and didn't score.


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