Chris Paul drove the lane for a layup with 2.7 seconds left to lift the New Orleans Hornets to a 100-98 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.
Coming off an All-Star weekend to remember, Kevin Durant scored a career-high 47 points and nailed a fallaway 3-pointer from the right wing to tie the game with 13.8 seconds to play. But that left Paul time for the winner in the arena the Hornets called home for two seasons after Hurricane Katrina.
David West led the Hornets with 37 points and 13 rebounds, while Paul finished with 21 points and eight assists.
The game was played hours after New Orleans traded starting center Tyson Chandler to the Thunder for Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox, plus second-round pick DeVon Hardin.
Jeff Green added 24 points and Russell Westbrook scored 12 points for Oklahoma City.
West hit a layup with 2:32 left to put New Orleans ahead 96-95, and the Kyle Weaver and Westbrook missed 3-pointers for the Thunder on back-to-back possessions before West struck again. He stutter-stepped to get space against Nenad Krstic and then nailed an 18-foot jumper from the left wing to push the lead to three.
Weaver then blocked Paul in the lane to give the Thunder a chance to tie, and Durant hit the 3-pointer off a sideline inbounds pass from Westbrook.
It was the latest highlight for Durant, who was coming off of an All-Star weekend in which he scored a record 46 points in the Rookie Challenge game and won the HORSE competition.
Paul had an answer, though, and the Hornets got the win they needed after heading into the All-Star break with six losses in eight games.
Rasual Butler and Peja Stojakovic added 11 points apiece for New Orleans.
West kept the Hornets ahead by scoring 16 of his points in the third quarter, after Oklahoma City cut into a 15-point deficit with a 9-0 run just before halftime.
But Durant came through with 12 points against New Orleans’ reserves to start the fourth quarter and put the Thunder up 83-82 on his 3-pointer from the right wing with 9:52 left. That led to a series of lead changes and ties before the thrilling finish.
After Oklahoma City scored the game’s opening point, the Hornets reeled off the next 10 points and opened a 24-9 advantage on Stojakovic’s 3-pointer from the right side off of Paul’s fifth assist of the first quarter.
James Posey hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first quarter and followed that with a jumper to push the lead to 16 before Durant scored the next six points for the Thunder.