PHOENIX -- Shaquille O'Neal got a look at how entertaining
his new team can be.
The result was the same as its been all season, though, for his
Phoenix Suns against New Orleans.
The Hornets won.
Peja Stojakovic sank a 22-footer at the buzzer to give the
Hornets a 132-130 double-overtime victory Wednesday night,
improving their record against the Suns to 3-0, with two of the
victories in Phoenix.
"A lucky one," Stojakovic said. "I can't say I knew it was
Chris Paul had 42 points, one off his career high, and a
career-best eight steals, but scored only two points after
regulation for New Orleans. Jannero Pargo scored 12 of his 22
points in the two overtimes. Stojakovic added 26 points and David
West 21 and 13 rebounds for the Hornets, who were without Tyson
Chandler because of the flu.
Amare Stoudemire had 26 points and a season-best 20 rebounds for
Phoenix. Steve Nash had 32 points and 12 assists, but committed 10
of the Suns' 20 turnovers. Boris Diaw, starting in place of the
departed Shawn Marion, scored a season-high 22. Leandro Barbosa
also scored 22, including 4-of-5 on 3-pointers. Nash was 5-of-9 on
"Obviously, it was a great game," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni
said. "I thought we played as hard as we could play and made some
big shots and could have in certain circumstances won the game, but
The Suns forced the second overtime with dramatic 3-pointers by
Barbosa and Nash. They almost did it again when Barbosa made a 3 to
tie it at 130 with 3.2 seconds left in the second OT.
But after a time out, the Hornets got the ball to the
sharpshooting Stojakovic, whose smooth jumper ended it, snapping
New Orleans' three-game losing streak.
"It felt like the game was never going to end," said Paul, who
played 50 minutes and was 1-for-6 shooting in the two overtimes.
"The last one Barbosa hit, it just felt like it wasn't for us to
win tonight. But we're a team that shows a lot of perseverance and
coach finally made the right call by giving Peja the last shot
instead of me."
The thriller came at the end of a monumental day for a Suns
franchise that acquired O'Neal in a trade that sent Marion and
Marcus Banks to Miami. O'Neal watched from a suite at US Airways
When he was introduced on the big screen to a loud standing
ovation, he smiled, stood up and pointed to his championship ring,
then gave a thumbs up. The crowd went crazy.
"We are definitely excited about the situation," Stoudemire
said. "Tonight, we tried to put things aside and get this win. We
knew it was a very important win for us, and the Hornets played
The Suns sank two 3-pointers in the final 11.6 seconds of the
first overtime. The first, by Barbosa, cut New Orleans' lead to
122-121. After Pargo made the third and fourth of his six
consecutive free throws, Nash broke free for an open 3 that tied it
at 124 with 8.2 seconds to play.
Paul missed a jumper under tight defense and the game went to
the second OT.
"It was unbelievable," Hornets coach Byron Scott said, "the
3s they were hitting. We did our part as far as making free throws,
but that's the team they are. Barbosa hits a couple of big ones,
Steve hits the big one to tie it up. Luckily for us, Peja hit one
at the end."
Nash's 3-pointer from the top of the key put Phoenix ahead
109-106 with 1:02 left in the fourth, but Paul converted a
three-point play to tie it again at 109, 51.2 seconds from the end
Nash and Stojakovic traded mid-range jumpers and it was tied at
111. Nash turned it over on a double-team, but Paul missed a jumper
and the game went to overtime.
The Hornets used a 13-2 run to take a 61-52 lead on David West's
two free throws with 40.7 seconds left in the first half. Paul
scored nine straight points during the surge.
Barbosa made 3-pointer, then West sank a 7-footer and New
Orleans led 63-55 at the break.
Phoenix came back to go up 78-75 on a 9-2 spurt capped by Nash's
3-pointer with 1:30 to go in the third quarter, but the Hornets
came back with a 10-2 run to go up 85-80 on Paul's 19-footer with
1:14 left. Another basket by Paul gave New Orleans an 87-82 lead
The Suns will be looking to add another player in the next
few weeks, general manager Steve Kerr said. ... Nash had five
assists in the third quarter. ... The Hornets' 132 points were the
most by a Suns opponent this season. ... Nash moved into 19th on
the NBA career assists list with 6,455. ... The three-game losing
streak tied New Orleans' longest of the season.