Published February 24, 2011
| Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS – Chris Paul had 19 points and 10 assists, and the New Orleans Hornets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 98-87 on Wednesday night.
David West scored 22 for the Hornets, who were able to overcome Blake Griffin and control the inside, even with center Emeka Okafor missing his 10th straight game with a strained left hip.
Willie Green scored 17 points and his backup, Marco Belinelli, added 12 for New Orleans, which shot 51.3 percent (40 of 78) in winning for only the third time in 12 games.
Griffin had 21 points and 13 rebounds, but the Clippers were sloppy in dropping their second straight. Los Angeles turned the ball over 23 times, leading to 25 Hornets points.
Earlier in the day, the Hornets traded shooting guard Marcus Thornton, a popular former LSU star, to Sacramento for power forward Carl Landry, who was expected to join the club on Thursday.
Coach Monty Williams said there may be games when the Hornets miss Thornton's explosive scoring off the bench, but that wasn't the case against the Clippers, with Green and Belinelli combining for 29 points from the shooting guard spot.
A sellout crowd of 17,537 was on hand to greet Griffin, the reigning NBA slam dunk champion. He threw down several jams but also missed two, including one in which he attempted a difficult spin move. Griffin also scored on reverse layups, a jump hook, bank shot and even an 18-foot jumper.
He needed more help, though, particularly with starting point guard Baron Davis sidelined by a sore left knee.
The only other Clippers scoring in double digits were Randy Foye with 15 points and Chris Kaman with 14. Los Angeles also missed seven of 21 free-throw attempts.
The Hornets finished with a 46-34 edge in points in the paint and outrebounded Los Angeles 36-32.
Neither team led by double digits through most of the first three quarters, but the Hornets began to seize control when Green's 3 and driving floater ignited a 13-3 run that put New Orleans ahead 68-54.
The Hornets' lead grew to 16 in the fourth quarter when Jarrett Jack, who had 10 points, sank two free throws to make it 87-71. Los Angeles didn't threaten after that.
The Clippers turned a solid opening into a 16-11 lead before Paul's jumper sparked a 12-0 Hornets run to close the quarter. West hit a pair of jumpers during the surge and Trevor Ariza added a fast-break dunk, after which Eric Bledsoe was not ready for the inbounds pass and lost it off his shoulder. Soon after, Jack's free throws made it 23-16.
NOTES: Griffin was assessed a technical foul early in the third quarter for arguing foul called against him while he guarded West. ... Bledsoe, who started for Davis, had seven points and seven assists in 40 minutes. ... Hornets reserve C Aaron Gray fouled out with six points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes. ... The Hornets are 21-8 at home this season. ... The Clippers, who defeated the Hornets in Los Angeles earlier this season, have lost their last eight at New Orleans.