Because of Paul’s play, the Hornets tied the best-of-seven series at 2-2 and assured a wild sellout crowd at the Arena of a game 6 here on Thursday night. The next game is on Tuesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles at 9:30 p.m.
Paul, playing with a jammed thumb, a black eye from a collision with Ron Artest's elbow on a jump ball and sore hips from getting bumped on all the pick-and-rolls the Hornets run, scored 27 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds.
His final assist was especially clutch, hitting Jarrett Jack with 9.3 seconds left. Jack, who had been scoreless, put down a seven-foot jumper to give the Hornets a 90-85 lead and then hit three free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory in the Hornets' biggest game of the season.
"Chris Paul had one of the better performances I've ever seen in the playoffs," Hornets coach Monty Williams said in a post-game news conference. "A lot of guys have performances where they score, but Paul scored and dished it out. He rebounded and he made tough, tenacious plays.
"A lot of times the ball goes up and the rebounds are a 50-50 ball and you see a 6-foot guy go up and get it, that just describes his heart. He makes me look better as a coach than I probably should."
"It was cool," Paul said about his performance to the media afterward. "It was enough for us to win. It was fun."
The Lakers' Kobe Bryant tweaked an ankle late in the game, "Kobe played good defense and was on my right side and I didn't have a shot," said Paul about his pass to Jack at the game's end. "I thank the Lord I saw Jack out of the corner of my eye."
by Ed Staton
...(Order your 2011 LSU Schedule T-shirts from Louisiana Sports Talk.com).
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