NEW ORLEANS (AP)—Chris Paul couldn’t leave New Orleans’ locker room Saturday night until he finished helping a friend with his tie.
Add another assist to the Hornets’ point guard, who set an NBA record in leading New Orleans to a 100-89 victory over Miami on Saturday night.
Paul finished with 21 points and 13 assists for his sixth straight double-double of at least 20 points and 10 assists to open the season, surpassing the mark set by Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson in 1968.
“That is very historical for him to be able to pass a name like that that’s a Hall of Famer,” New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. “If he stays healthy and keeps growing as a basketball player, obviously he’ll be a Hall of Famer, too.”
Paul also had seven rebounds and four steals to help the Hornets (4-2) snap a two-game losing streak. Nevertheless, Paul wouldn’t take complete credit for the record.
“This is a very unusual stat,” Paul said. “Assists only occur when your teammates do what they are supposed to be doing.”
The Hornets rebounded after dropping games to Atlanta and Charlotte following an undefeated preseason and a 3-0 start.
And while players said effort was lacking in the previous two games, it wasn’t Saturday night against Miami, especially in the second quarter when the Hornets pushed the lead to 11.
“We haven’t, for some reason, come out and played with energy,” New Orleans guard Morris Peterson said. “A lot of times we’d be playing to the other team’s level instead of playing our game and doing what we do, which has made us successful.
“We got away from that the last couple of games.”
The Heat (3-3) rallied in the second half, cutting a one-time 17-point deficit to seven with 5:06 to play.
But Paul wouldn’t let Miami get any closer, scoring the next six New Orleans points. In all, Paul had nine points and two assists in the final quarter.
A Peja Stojakovic 3-pointer put the game out of reach. Paul, naturally, picked up the assist on the shot.
“He’s such a special player and aggressively gets into the paint and makes plays,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Even from our vantage point, I couldn’t tell what play he was making.
“Sometimes he would hold the ball until the very last second where we thought we had him corralled and he seemed to find the one open person on the floor, usually a 3-point shooter.”
Paul’s night wasn’t perfect, however. He finished with five turnovers, something that stuck with him.
“He was upset about that at the end,” Scott said. “That’s the first thing he asked me, how many turnovers he had.”
Paul also pushed his steals streak to 89 games. … New Orleans held Miami to nine points off of 10 turnovers. The Heat averaged 24.9 points off of turnovers in their first five games. … The Hornets have won the past five games against the Heat, as well as the past four games against Miami in the New Orleans Arena. … New Orleans held Miami’s Michael Beasley to 10 points. The rookie scored at least 17 points in his previous three games.