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November 21, 2009

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Stojakovic leads Hornets past Suns

PEJA Stojakovic hit seven three-pointers during a 25-point, 13-rebound performance to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 110-103 upset win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.

Devin Brown and Marcus Thornton both added 19 points for the Hornets, who won for the second straight time under new coach Jeff Bower after he replaced the fired Byron Scott last week. The Hornets lost 104-124 when the teams met in Phoenix eight days ago, in a game that turned out to be Scott's last in charge of the Hornets. This time, New Orleans (5-8) handed the Suns (10-3) just their third loss of the season.

"They were embarrassed by the way they performed at our place," Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry told reporters. "You knew they were going to play better here.

"No doubt in my mind."

Elsewhere in the National Basketball Association, it was: Jazz 90, Spurs 83; and Lakers 108, Bulls 93.

In New Orleans, the Hornets were without all-star Chris Paul, allowing rookie Darren Collison to start in his place.

The first round draft pick out of UCLA turned in a solid performance with 15 points, five rebounds and five assists despite missing 11 of his first 12 shots. "The most important thing when you're having a tough shooting night is try to get the win, and the second thing is always keep your confidence," Collison said.

"You can never let your confidence get away from you in a game like that. If a team's playing off you and you're open, go ahead and shoot it."

Emeka Okafor had 13 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans, which out-rebounded Phoenix 56-38 and dominated the Suns defensively at times.

"We are too good to quit," Stojakovic said. "We have good talent on this team and you can't give up. We had a bad start but we can come back from that.

"Hopefully we can just raise our level of playing and get some consistency."

Amare Stoudemire had 23 points and Jared Dudley scored 17 for Phoenix. Jason Richardson scored 16 points and Steve Nash contributed 13 points and 10 assists for the losers.

"They made some big shots at the right time," Gentry added. "They were the better team tonight and played a good all-round game."

In San Antonio, Deron Williams scored 21 points and Utah ended its decade-long misery in San Antonio.

Utah had not won a regular-season game in San Antonio since 1999, a losing streak that spanned 20 games. Paul Millsap added 20 points for the Jazz.

Tim Duncan scored 21 points, and he has seldom seen San Antonio struggle at the start of a season like this. The Spurs revamped their roster this summer, but they have their first losing record after 10 games since 1996.

In Los Angeles, Pau Gasol had 24 points and 13 rebounds in his season debut as the Lakers downed the Bulls.

Kobe Bryant added 21 points while passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the Lakers' career scoring chart.

With a free throw in the third quarter, Bryant passed Abdul-Jabbar (24,276) for second place on the Lakers' career scoring list, leaving him trailing only Jerry West (25,192).

Derrick Rose had 20 points and John Salmons scored all 18 of his points in the first half for the Bulls.


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