OAKLAND (AP) — Monta Ellis scored 21 points and Dorell Wright added 16 to help the Golden State Warriors overcome an early 15-point deficit to beat the New Orleans Hornets 102-89 on Tuesday night.
David Lee also scored 16 points and Stephen Curry had 14 and eight assists for the Warriors, who have won six of eight games. Five of those wins have come against teams with winning records as Golden State heads into its final game before the All-Star break Wednesday night in Utah playing its best basketball of the season.
All-Star point guard Chris Paul was held scoreless for the final 39 minutes for the Hornets, who are limping toward the All-Star break without injured center Emeka Okafor. New Orleans has lost eight of 10 heading into the final game before the break at Portland on Wednesday night.
The Warriors turned a 15-point first-quarter deficit into a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Golden State began the turnaround with little-used backup guards Charlie Bell and Jeremy Lin in the game in the second quarter with Ellis and Curry sitting with two fouls apiece.
Vladimir Radmanovich made two 3-pointers to start the comeback and then Ellis came back in and capped a 15-3 run with a 3-pointer that gave the Warriors their first lead at 47-46. Golden State increased the advantage to 58-53 at the half and then started to pull away in the third quarter.
Curry hit back-to-back 3-pointers as part of a 19-6 run that gave Golden State a 79-67 on a 3-pointer from Wright. Curry added another 3-pointer late in the quarter to make it 83-71 heading into the fourth.
A three-point play by Lee and breakaway dunk by Reggie Williams helped increase the lead to 91-72 early in the fourth and the Warriors cruised from there.
The turnaround was possible as much for Golden State’s usual prowess on long-range shots as it was the defense against Paul, who missed his final eight shots. Paul finished with 11 points and 10 assists.
Former Warrior Marco Belinelli and David West each scored 15 points to lead the Hornets.
This game was emblematic of the problems the Hornets have had since leaving here Jan. 26 with a 10-game winning streak. New Orleans has won just twice in 10 games since then with coach Monty Williams saying the downfall started late in that final win in the streak.
Williams hoped a return to Oracle Arena would get his team back to playing the way it did during that January run. It looked as though his wish would come true at the start of the game as the Hornets made 11 of their first 13 shots from the field and all nine free throws as they broke out to a 32-17 late in the first quarter.
Paul was in the middle of it all by hitting his first four shots and handing out five assists, including the pass that set up a 3-pointer by Belinelli that capped the 9-0 run to give New Orleans a 15-point lead.
Notes: Curry made one free throw, extending his consecutive make streak to 40. … The Hornets hope to have Okafor back from a strained muscle in his side after the All-Star break. … The Warriors honored former owner Franklin Mieuli, who died last April, as part of their Hardwood Classics Month.
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