New Orleans (22-19) at Minnesota (9-34)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Fri Jan 22, 2010
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Chris Paul(notes) has confidence in the New Orleans Hornets down the stretch in tight games. His clutch shots in those situations - such as his game-winner against the Minnesota Timberwolves in December - give him every reason to.

In the opener of a four-game road trip, Paul and the Hornets look to win their fifth straight against the lowly Timberwolves on Friday night.

After trailing by nine points late, New Orleans (22-19) rallied to beat Memphis 113-111 on Wednesday night on James Posey’s(notes) driving layup with 1.1 seconds left.

Posey, a reserve averaging 5.7 points, was signed as a free agent prior to the 2008-09 season in part because of his reputation for hitting clutch shots.

“I like being in that situation if the ball’s in my hand, just having an opportunity,” he said.

In the Hornets’ last matchup with the Timberwolves (9-34), it was Paul who came up big at the end. He streaked past rookie Jonny Flynn(notes) on an inbounds pass for a layup with 1.4 seconds left in a 97-96 victory Dec. 9.

“We never give up,” Paul said. “We’re nervous out there but when you’ve done it before you know there’s a way. We just try to make the game as interesting as possible for all the fans.”

New Orleans is 2-0 against Minnesota this season, shooting 45.7 percent (21 for 46) from 3-point range, and has won four in a row in the series. The Hornets have taken six of seven at Minnesota.

New Orleans is kicking off a four-game stretch on the road, where it is 6-15 this season. The Hornets have been better away from home in recent weeks, winning four of their last six.

David West(notes) had a combined 49 points in his last two games away from New Orleans Arena, but has averaged 10.9 in eight road games against the Wolves. The veteran forward is the Hornets’ second-leading scorer, averaging 17.8 points.

West may be matched up with Minnesota’s Kevin Love(notes), who has missed two straight games because of illness. Love, averaging 15.2 points and 12.3 rebounds, is day to day.

Minnesota won its first game without Love 108-103 in overtime against Philadelphia on Monday, but lost 94-92 to Oklahoma City two days later.

Al Jefferson(notes) scored 20 points against the Thunder and is averaging 22.4 in his last five games. Third-year guard Corey Brewer(notes) topped 20 points for the third time in five contests, finishing with 25.

“Things are coming together for Corey in terms of his shot,” Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said. “He still has some room to grow as far as his ability to attack the basket out of our halfcourt situations. He does a good job in transition because he has a good head of steam a lot of the time.”

Brewer, though, has averaged 5.6 points and shot 31.7 percent in five games against the Hornets.

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Friday, Jan 22