Hornets Stung
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New York vs New Orleans
98 - 109
Record: 13-26
Eddy Curry goes to the hoop (Getty Images Photo)
Eddy Curry goes to the hoop (Getty Images Photo)
NEW YORK (AP) - New Orleans rookie Chris Paul has always enjoyed playing in New York.

Paul had 27 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds to lead the Hornets over the Knicks 109-98 on Saturday night.

"This is the Mecca of basketball, New York City," Paul said. "You can't hope to play well at a better place than this."

Paul, who recorded his 12th double-double of the season and leads NBA rookies in points and assists, went 3-0 in college at Madison Square Garden while playing for Wake Forest.

"It means a lot to me," Paul said. "Right now I'm undefeated in the Garden."

New York Knicks coach Larry Brown was impressed by the rookie.

"He's phenomenal," Brown said. "He's one of the best that's come into this league in a long, long time."

David West scored 19 points and Desmond Mason added 16 for the Hornets (20-20), who have won five of their last six games.

"We played hard tonight," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "We had the tempo in our favor and that's the type of basketball that we want to play."

New Orleans held a 77-67 lead with 3:06 left in the third quarter before going on a 10-4 run to close the period. Paul had four assists during that stretch, including an alley-oop to Speedy Claxton off a steal that made the score 85-67 with 1:21 left in the period.

"He has the ultimate confidence in his stuff with what he's capable of doing," Scott said of his rookie. "I think it's just special for him to play at the Garden because he knows how historic this arena is."

Paul then followed the alley-oop with a beautiful pass to Chris Andersen for a two-handed slam with 3.8 seconds left that gave the Hornets an 87-71 lead at the end of the quarter. Paul had eight assists in the period.

"He reminds me so much of Isiah (Thomas)," Brown said.

The Knicks could only get as close as 103-94 in the fourth quarter, but J.R. Smith's 3-pointer put away the game.

New York (13-26) has lost five straight games. It's the third time this season the Knicks, who were playing their fifth game in seven days, have lost five or more games in a row.

"We're not playing the type of basketball we need to be playing," said Channing Frye , who led the Knicks with 18 points.

The Knicks were playing their third straight game without Stephon Marbury , who is sidelined with a sprained left shoulder. Antonio Davis also missed the game, serving the second game of his suspension for running into the stands in Wednesday's overtime loss to Chicago.

"We can't use that as an excuse any more," Frye said.

Jamal Crawford added 14 points and Nate Robinson had 13. Qyntel Woods had a season-high 11 points for New York.

Paul had 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in the first half. He went 11-for-14 from the free throw line as the Hornets built a 56-51 halftime lead.

New York's Quentin Richardson was 1-for-8 from the field in 18 minutes. ... Brown hopes to have Marbury back when the Knicks host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. ... Scott played two seasons with the Indiana Pacers under Brown from 1993-95 and has a lot of respect for his former coach. "Larry Brown is someone that I spend a lot of time with in the summer. He's one of the best coaches I've been around." ... Woods' previous season high was eight points against Atlanta on Dec. 16.

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