Utah (37-43) at New Orleans (46-34)

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN, STATS Senior Writer Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 Tipoff: 8:00 pm EDT Mon Apr 11, 2011

Chris Paul(notes) has accomplished plenty during his six NBA seasons, but never had he gone scoreless until his last game.

He’ll get a chance to bounce back quickly and help the New Orleans Hornets try to boost their playoff seeding when they play their regular-season home finale Monday night against the Utah Jazz.

The four-time All-Star missed all six shots from the field and both attempts from the line in Sunday’s 111-89 loss at Memphis. He scored one point in a 102-86 victory over Portland on Feb. 15, 2006, for his previous low.

“I just couldn’t make nothing,” Paul said. “There’s a first time for everything. I had some good looks, they just didn’t go in.”

Paul also turned in poor scoring efforts in two of his previous four games, being held to five points April 1 in a loss to Memphis and seven in Friday’s victory over Phoenix.

New Orleans (46-34) dropped into a tie with the Grizzlies for seventh place in the Western Conference. Those teams trail sixth-place Portland by one game, and the Hornets have the tiebreaker advantage over both those teams.

“The only thing we can control is our wins and losses,” Paul said. “We’re one of those teams, we haven’t been together long enough to say this is who we want to play, or who we don’t want to play. We’ve just got to continue to play, deal with it as a team, and deal with who we have to play when we get to it.”

The rivalry between New Orleans and Utah (37-43) used to feature point guard duels between Paul and Deron Williams(notes) - players drafted one selection apart by these teams in 2005. They met 16 times, with Williams’ Jazz winning 12.

Williams, though, was traded to New Jersey on Feb. 23, and New Orleans won 121-117 in overtime on March 24 in the first meeting since that deal. Paul had 24 points and 12 assists to help the Hornets take a 2-1 lead in the season series.

Utah is 6-17 since that trade and will miss the playoffs for the first time in five seasons in a tumultuous campaign that saw Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan resign Feb. 10. The Jazz are playing their final road contest after falling for the 10th time in 11 games, 111-102 at San Antonio on Saturday.

“We gotta finish this season with our head up high and have some pride for ourselves. We just ain’t going out here and lay down,” center Al Jefferson(notes) said. “We’re going to play hard.”

Jefferson led the way against the Spurs with 23 points. Rookie Derrick Favors(notes), acquired in the Williams’ deal, had a season-high 17.

The Jazz believe their future will be bright as their frontcourt of Jefferson, Favors and fifth-year power forward and Louisiana native Paul Millsap(notes) continue to blossom. Millsap is averaging 21.3 points on 64.9 percent shooting against New Orleans this season.

“Once Paul and Derrick get more comfortable playing with each other, we can be tough,” coach Tyrone Corbin said.

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