NEW ORLEANS - Shutting down David West only gave the San Antonio Spurs front-row seats for the Chris Paul show. With razzle-dazzle dribbles and a driving floater that couldn't miss, Paul had 30 points and 12 assists, leading the New Orleans Hornets to a 102-84 victory Monday night and a 2-0 lead over the Spurs in their second-round series.
New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul (3) is fouled by San Antonio Spurs forward Manu Ginobili (20), of Argentina, in Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals basketball playoff series Monday, May 5, 2008, in New Orleans.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Peja Stojakovic hit five 3-pointers and scored 25 points for the Hornets, who've won both games by wide margins in becoming the first team to put San Antonio in an 0-2 playoff hole since 2001, when the Spurs were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals.
Game 3 is Thursday in San Antonio.
After allowing West to score a playoff career-high 30 points in the series opener, the Spurs held the All-Star power forward to 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting. But West remained active under the basket with 10 rebounds.
Tyson Chandler had 11 rebounds and all of his five points during a key stretch midway through the fourth quarter when the Hornets prevented San Antonio from getting within single digits.
Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 18 points and eight rebounds, far better than his miserable Game 1, when he tied a career playoff low with five points and three rebounds. But by the final minutes, Duncan was on the bench, resting his cheek on his hand with a dejected 100-yard stare.
Manu Ginobili had 13 points for the Spurs and Tony Parker 11. Brent Barry added 14, some of it when the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter.
The Spurs continued to settle for 3-pointers, going 8-of-27 from that distance and finishing at 42.5 percent shooting overall. The Hornets shot 48 percent.
The Hornets opened the second half with a 10-0 run that included 3s by Stojakovic and Morris Peterson. Stojakovic's driving floater capped it, giving New Orleans a 52-43 lead.
With Paul spearheading an up-tempo attack, the Hornets kept the pressure on throughout the third quarter. Paul used heady ball-handling to goad the Spurs into fouls, putting them over the limit with 4:06 left in the period. Meanwhile, Paul and Stojakovic each added another 3, the second putting New Orleans up 70-56.
As the quarter ended, Paul used a high dribble on the drive to give the Hornets a 78-61 lead heading into the final period.
Duncan had seven points in the first eight minutes, luring Chandler into two early fouls and tying the score at 17 on a follow shot as he was fouled by Chandler's replacement, Melvin Ely.
Kurt Thomas, who scored only two points in Game 1, also had seven in the first quarter.
Ginobili scored six points during an 8-0 run that put the Spurs up 29-22 early in the second quarter. New Orleans hit back with a 9-2 run that included Jannero Pargo's two jumpers and rookie Julian Wright's 3, which tied the game at 31.
Paul, who had 11 points in the first half, gave New Orleans a 42-40 lead with eight seconds left in the second quarter. Parker then hit a 3 from the corner at the buzzer to put San Antonio up 43-42 at halftime.
Notes:@ Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker and actor Isaiah Washington were in the audience, as well as former LSU defensive lineman and Kansas City Chiefs top draft choice Glenn Dorsey ... Attendance was 17,927, the Hornets' 11th straight sellout. ... The Hornets have never won a second-round series. They are 0-4 in the second round of the playoffs.