(Sports Network) - Topping Chicago in the Windy City is tough enough with a
full hand on deck. New Orleans will have to try and accomplish that feat
without All-Star point guard Chris Paul.
In a frightening scene Paul suffered a concussion and left the court on a
stretcher during the third quarter of the Hornets' 96-81 victory at Cleveland
on Sunday. The dynamic quarterback, who is averaging 15.9 points and 9.6
assists this season, hit his forehead on the shoulder of Cleveland's Ramon
Sessions while both were going after a loose ball.
Paul was fully conscious and did not lose feeling anywhere at any time but was
taken to the Cleveland Clinic for precautionary tests that came up negative
for everything but the concussion. He was able to rejoin his teammates and
accompanied them to Chicago but has already been listed as out.
In the game itself David West dropped 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds as
New Orleans overcame the loss of Paul. Marco Belinelli notched 18 points while
Emeka Okafor and Willie Green each scored 10 for the Hornets, who won their
second straight game.
"I think it says a lot about the group, about D West and his leadership,"
Hornets head coach Monty Williams said. "He doesn't get a lot of recognition
for that because he's not a rah-rah guy. Also, Jarrett Jack. I pulled him to
the side and said, 'OK, let's go' and we didn't miss a beat."
The Bulls, meanwhile, are coming off a huge 87-86 win over the Heat in South
beach on Sunday. Miami's struggles in close games and against the top teams in
the league continued when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both missed potential
game-winning shots in the final six seconds to help Chicago escape with the
Luol Deng hit three free throws to turn a two-point deficit into a one-point
lead with 15.9 ticks remaining and finished with 18 points for the Bulls, who
won all three meetings between the teams this season.
"This means that we play well against them," Deng said about the significance
of the win. "They're right behind us in the standings and it was a big game.
We've been doing a good job of just focusing on playing one game at a time."
Derrick Rose ended with 27 points and five assists while Carlos Boozer added
12 points and 10 boards for the Bulls, who have won five out of six overall
and are now a game ahead of Miami for the second spot in the Eastern
Chicago, which is a gaudy 26-4 at United Center, has won five straight over
New Orleans and will be attempting to sweep the home-and-home season series
between the clubs for a third straight season.
The Sports Network