Paul leads Hornets past Mavs

The Baltimore Sun

First the brilliant playoff debut, then the encore.

Chris Paul had 32 points and a franchise playoff-record 17 assists, leading host New Orleans to a 127-103 victory over the Dallas Mavericks last night that gave the Hornets a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.

The old record was 15 assists, set by Muggsy Bogues (Dunbar) in 1993.

David West scored 27 points and Peja Stojakovic 22 for New Orleans, which took a double-digit lead in the second quarter and led by as many as 25 points in the third quarter.

Tyson Chandler had his second double-double of the series with 10 points and 11 rebounds, despite playing with foul trouble. Morris Peterson added 12 points and reserve guard Jannero Pargo had 10 for New Orleans, which was 10-of-18 on three-pointers, with Stojakovic hitting 5-of-7.

The series now moves to Dallas, where the Hornets have not won since January 1998. But that streak will end if the Mavericks don't figure out how to slow Paul and a supporting cast that is playing with enormous confidence.

Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 27 points, but spent most of the night looking frustrated, yelling at no one in particular after he threw one pass out of bounds. Brandon Bass was another bright spot for Dallas, muscling inside for 19 points. Jason Kidd finished with seven points and eight assists.

Magic 104, Raptors 103 -- Dwight Howard had 29 points and 20 rebounds, his second straight 20-20 game, and host Orlando beat Toronto for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series. Chris Bosh had 29 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto, but missed a 19-footer with 1.9 seconds left that could have won the game. Jason Kapono scored 20 points and Jose Calderon had 18 for the Raptors. Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis each scored 18 for Orlando. Hedo Turkoglu made the go-ahead layup and finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Spurs 102, Suns 96 -- Tony Parker scored 32 points and Manu Ginobli added 29 as host San Antonio beat Phoenix to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. San Antonio, which won Game 1 in double overtime, trailed at halftime, 61-54, but held the Suns to 11 points in the third quarter. Amare Stoudemire led Phoenix with 33 points.

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