David West scored 32 points and Chris Paul made two key steals in the final minute to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 99-96 win over the New Jersey Nets on Sunday night.
Rasual Butler added 22 points for the Hornets, who extended their winning streak to four. Paul finished with 14 points and 9 assists.
Devin Harris and Vince Carter each had 26 to pace the Nets, winners of their two previous games. Harris also had 14 assists while Jarvis Hayes added 13 points.
With the Nets leading by one with a minute remaining, Harris turned the ball over to Paul, who hit a 19-foot jumper to give the Hornets a 95-94 lead.
On the Nets following possession, Lopez tried to force a pass to Harris that Paul picked off for his second steal in the closing seconds. The turnover turned into a pair of free throws by Butler with 9.6 seconds left that clinched the win for the Hornets.
Paul made two free throws at the end of the third quarter to give the Hornets a 76-75 lead.
New Orleans threatened to break the game open early in the period, jumping out to 58-45 lead when West sank a fade-away jumper. The Nets regrouped as Harris poured in 15 points in the quarter and Carter added 11.
The game remained tight until right to end.
The contest featured a showdown between two of the leagues best young point guards. While Harris had the statistical edge this time, Paul and Hornets had edge where it counted most, sweeping the two-game season series.
Notes:@ The Hornets inactives were Melvin Ely and Morris Peterson. The Nets did not dress Keyon Dooling (sore right hip), Eduardo Najera (lower right abdominal strain) and Stromile Swift. ... Dooling had recently been an important part of the Nets bench, averaging 13 points in the previous four games. ... Hayes wound up in the third row chasing an out-of-bounds ball midway through the third quarter. He wound up tangled up with the fans amid the collapsing folding chairs and had to be extricated by Carter.
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