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Paul's 15 points, 15 assists lead Hornets past Cats

NEW ORLEANS -- Tyson Chandler was about to shoot a free throw when he glanced up at a video board and saw a computer-generated Afro hairstyle completing the image of him wearing a throwback uniform from the late 1960s.

"That's probably why I missed," Chandler said. "I looked up and saw how they had me and I started laughing. It broke my concentration a little bit."

He could afford to joke about it. The way the Hornets have been playing lately, they didn't need that free throw in a tension-free 105-89 victory over the trade-depleted Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Chris Paul had 15 points and 15 assists, and the Hornets led by as many as 23 points in the first half on the way to their seventh victory in eight games.

"This team understands it's all about getting wins, regardless of who your playing," Paul said. "You can never look past a team. Obviously, we didn't look past them."

Rookie D.J. Augustin scored a career-high 28 points to lead Charlotte, which took the floor with a depleted lineup shortly after a multiplayer trade that sent leading scorer Jason Richardson to Phoenix.

Charlotte also sent small forward Jared Dudley and a 2010 second-round draft pick to the Suns. The Bobcats await the arrival of Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Sean Singletary from Phoenix.

With Richardson gone, Bobcats coach Larry Brown said he would make the crowd pleasing move of starting Augustin, who starred at Brother Martin High School in New Orleans before playing for Texas in college. The crowd roared when Augustin was introduced.

He played 37 minutes at point guard and had seven assists, then got another ovation when he left the game for good with under 2 minutes to go.

"Everybody from New Orleans came to see me play and support me," Augustin said. "It was great."

Augustin's hometown fans weren't the only ones he impressed.

"A lot of the things that I do, he does a lot of the same things," Paul said. "He's going to be an outstanding point guard in this league for a long time."

Alexis Ajinca scored 12 points, and Matt Carroll 10 for Charlotte.

David West and Peja Stojakovic each scored 17 points for New Orleans. Chandler had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, who had a new look, too. They wore the white, red and black throwback uniforms of the old New Orleans Buccaneers of the ABA.

The ABA was known for a fast-paced, high-scoring style and little defense. The Hornets looked the part on offense with the speedy and creative Paul running the floor, while the Bobcats helped out by offering little resistance on the defensive end.

Paul fed Chandler for several alley-oops and capped the third quarter with a crowd-pleasing bounce pass to James Posey cutting down the lane for a fast-break dunk. Stojakovic added five 3-pointers on six attempts and New Orleans shot 53.2 percent through three quarters, after which they led 88-57.

Paul's performance gave him 15 double-doubles through New Orleans' first 18 games.

Hornets coach Byron Scott went with a reserve line up for the entire fourth quarter. Morris Peterson scored 16 points in a reserve role, hitting four 3-pointers.

"It was like the varsity and the JV," Brown said. "If it wasn't for [Scott] being so gracious substituting like he did, I don't know what [the score] would have been. We were short-handed. Some young guys got a chance to play. ... D.J. played great. It was nice for him to have that kind of opportunity here in front of his family and so many people. I was proud of that."

It was New Orleans' second straight lopsided victory over a struggling team, including a 106-87 win over Memphis last Saturday. Their next game Friday -- in Boston -- won't likely be as easy, but Scott said the strength of recent competition doesn't diminish what the Hornets have done in their last seven wins.

"I don't care if five out of the seven teams were from the Louisiana high school district," Scott said. "It's still a win. We want to try to capitalize on that and keep the momentum going. I think everybody in that room understands we are playing the best team in the league in that first game on this road trip."

Game notes
The Buccaneers played in New Orleans for three seasons from 1967-1970. Brown was a player on the 1967-68 team. Asked before the game what he thought of the Hornets wearing uniforms like he wore back then, Brown said, "Will they be as short? I hope not." ... Stojakovic surpassed 12,000 career points with a 3-pointer late in the first quarter. ... Paul had two steals, giving him a steal in 102 straight games. Alvin Robertson holds the NBA record for consecutive games with a steal with 105, a streak that ended on Dec. 29, 1986.