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New Orleans Hornets Cool Down Miami Heat with 96-93 Win, Improve to 5-0

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New Orleans Hornets Cool Down Miami Heat with 96-93 Win, Improve to 5-0
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

I try not to put much stock in early regular-season basketball games, but this game was as huge as it gets. 

The atmosphere for the New Orleans Hornets vs. the Miami Heat was as electric as any playoff game, and like a playoff game, it was intense. 

The Hornets controlled this game from the opening tip. It started with an Emeka Okafor basket (which there would be more of), and continued as the Hornets jumped out to an early 14-4 lead in the Big Easy. 

Chris Paul might as well been serving cheesecake because he was handing out so many sweet dishes, as he had nine first-quarter assists.

Jason Smith also came to play as he poured in eight points and four rebounds in that first quarter. 

The Heat Big three accounted for 14 of the 17 first-quarter points and were down double digits heading into the second 29-17. 

Miami did close the gap a bit in the second, when LeBron and Zydrunas Ilgauskas took a trip down memory lane, becoming an effective one-two punch, scoring 10 points in the quarter and went into the half down 50-41. 

David West showed up in the third after sitting out most of the first and second in foul trouble. West scored eight huge points to keep the Heat at bay in the quarter, to make it 72-64.

But the fourth quarter and the night belonged to Emeka Okafor as he scored eight points in the quarter and had a huge night putting up a 26-point and 13-board double-double. 

The Heat Big Three made it close late in the game, cutting the Hornet lead to three with 1:31 to go.

Dwyane Wade led the late charge as he scored 11 of his 28 points in the fourth, and looked to bring the Heat all the way back and win. 

Chris Paul would not let his friend have that wish though, when CP3 drove to the lane and kicked it out to new wingman Trevor Ariza for a game-clinching three, which was Paul's 19th assist. 

The Heat had a chance to tie the game with a last-second heave from Eddie House and Dwyane Wade, as LeBron James didn't get a touch as he finished with 20 points, 10 dimes and seven rebounds. But the Hornets sealed the win 96-93. 

This win puts the Hornets at 5-0 with two division wins and a perfect 3-0 vs. the Western Conference. 

The Hornets now have a statement win against a marquee team and look to be a contending team in the West, although the defending champ Lakers are also 5-0.

Like I said, I hate to put such importance on a regular-season game, but this win could be an enormous stepping stone on the road to a great season for Hornets basketball. 

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