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Rose, Bulls send Paul-less Hornets to 4th straight loss

NEW ORLEANS -- Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls provided all the razzle-dazzle, fast-break, above-the-rim play that New Orleans fans are used to seeing from the Hornets when Chris Paul is on the floor.

With Paul sidelined for his first full game with a strained right groin, Rose scored 21 points and the Chicago Bulls handed the struggling Hornets their fourth straight loss, 107-93 on Wednesday night.

"We just ran our offense really well and obviously New Orleans is a different team without Chris Paul," Chicago center Joakim Noah said. "It was a win we really needed as a team and hopefully we can grow from this."

Ben Gordon added 19 points for the Bulls, who won for the fourth time in five games -- all on the road.

David West led New Orleans with 24 points and 14 rebounds, Peja Stojakovic scored 24 points, and Devin Brown had 17. New Orleans showed some fight in the fourth quarter, getting its deficit down to 10 with 4:01 to go, but simply could not catch the Bulls, who had six players reach double digits in points and shot 56 percent, the highest field-goal percentage by a Hornets opponent this season.

Noah had 16 points and nine rebounds for Chicago, while Tyrus Thomas had 15 points, including a couple authoritative dunks and 10 rebounds. Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni each scored 13 points.

Chicago had a double-digit lead most of the way, going ahead by 18 at halftime and as much as 22 during the third quarter and again early in the fourth.

"We were just running, playing an up-tempo type game, pushing it, playing defense," said Rose, who set that tempo. "We need to do that more often."

The Hornets hoped to perform better in Paul's absence than they did when he went out with a strained right groin late in the third quarter of Monday night's 97-89 loss to Portland. The Hornets blew a 17-point lead to the Blazers after Paul went out.

Against Chicago, however, New Orleans' biggest problems were on defense. The Bulls, who missed their first 10 shots in a loss at Houston a night earlier, made 13 of their first 16 shots against the Hornets in racing to 29-15 lead late in the first quarter. Chicago had little trouble getting inside, scoring on seven layups and seven dunks in the first half.

"Guys getting to the paint for layups and dunks -- I don't think that has a lot to do with Chris Paul," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "It has more to do with us and toughness and pride more than anything. ... It's got to get to a point where you say, 'Enough is enough.' Then you start taking some pride on the defensive end.

"We've got to really take pride in that end where we're not allowing guys to get down the lane for layups and dunks that are uncontested. It's got to be different than that."

Rose and Noah put on a Harlem Globetrotters-like act on a fast break in the second quarter, with Rose feeding Noah a no-look backward bounce pass and Noah quickly throwing a behind-the-back bounce-pass back to Rose for a reverse layup. The New Orleans Arena crowd, clearly unimpressed with the Hornets' defense, starting booing.

"It was a lucky play," Noah said, grinning. "I'm happy it turned out all right. It made me look good."

Chicago ended up shooting 63.4 percent for the half, with Rose and Gordon each scoring 14 points. It all added up to a 62-44 halftime lead for the Bulls, which marked the most points the Hornets have given up in a half this season.

Game notes
The Hornets have lost six games to teams with losing records this season. ... New Orleans' longest losing streak last season was three games. ... The Bulls became the fifth Hornets' opponent to score 100 points in New Orleans Arena this season. ... Rose has scored in double figures in all but five games this season. ... The Bulls are 4-2 on their current road trip, which has one game left at Dallas on Saturday night.