The New Orleans Hornets shoot for their 10th win of the season and look to stay perfect at home when they host former head coach Byron Scott and the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight in the Big Easy.
The Hornets had their eight-game winning streak to start the season come to an end against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday in Big D, but got revenge with a 99-97 home win two days later. Chris Paul had 20 points and 11 assists, David West and Marco Belinelli each scored 17 points and Emeka Okafor notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which is 6-0 at home this season.
"That's a really good team that we just played," said Paul, who is averaging 21.0 points, 10.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds in the last two games. "Every good team is going to make their run, but we weathered the storm and pulled it out in the end."
New Orleans used a 27-7 run in the third quarter to take over the game and hasn't surrendered 100 points or more to any team this season. It also outscored the Mavericks by a 40-24 margin in the paint and converted 15 turnovers into 23 points.
Okafor is averaging 13.7 points and 10.3 rebounds in his last seven games.
After hosting the Cavaliers, New Orleans will embark on a four-game journey out west against the Kings, Clippers, Jazz and Trail Blazers.
Scott, meanwhile, was fired after a 3-6 start to last season and was in his sixth season with the club. Scott compiled a record of 203-216 during his tenure in New Orleans, which began with a team that won just 18 games in his first year of 2004-05.
The Cavs are 5-5 so far under Scott and will begin a three-game road trip Friday against the Hornets, Spurs and Pacers. They are 3-1 away from Quicken Loans Arena this season and closed out a three-game homestand with a 1-2 mark following Tuesday's 101-93 win versus Philadelphia.
Daniel Gibson scored 18 points and dished out eight assists, while Jamario Moon and Joey Graham each scored 13 points for the Cavaliers, who got 10 points apiece from Anthony Parker and Antawn Jamison.
"We just kept up the pressure. We kept the pressure up on defense and we continued to move the basketball," Moon said. "It wasn't just in that third quarter; it was in that fourth quarter too. We have been struggling for a while in the third and fourth quarter, but (tonight) for 48 minutes, we pretty much put a complete game together."
Cleveland snapped a four-game slide at home and took a sizeable lead after outscoring the Sixers, 26-16, in the third quarter. It also forced 15 turnovers and shot 46.3 percent from the field. Forward Anderson Varejao (ribs) returned to the Cavs' lineup and scored nine points.
Another reason for the Cavs' recent success is their bench play. The Cavaliers currently rank first in the NBA in bench scoring, averaging 44.1 ppg, and their reserves outscored the Sixers' bench by a 54-41 count.
Jamison currently has 6,996 rebounds and 899 three-pointers made in his career. With four more rebounds and one more three-pointer, Jamison will join Scottie Pippen and Dirk Nowitzki as the only players in NBA history with at least 7,000 rebounds, 900 three-pointers and 17,000 total points.
In injury news for Cleveland, guard Mo Williams (adductor/groin) is listed as questionable against the Hornets. He has missed back-to-back games.
The Cavs have won three in a row and 11 of 15 matchups in this series with New Orleans, but have dropped 13 of the past 17 trips to the bayou.