Chris Paul led the way with 23 points, 17 assists and nine rebounds as the Hornets improved to 12-1 for January and moved within one win of a franchise record for consecutive victories.

Fans shouted "MVP" as Paul shot free throws in the third quarter, while New Orleans coach Byron Scott said the Hornets point guard was deserving of a mention for the league award.

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"For what he's been able to achieve, for how he's played and how we've played as a team, you have to give him some recognition for that award," Scott told reporters.

Five other Hornets scored in double figures with Peja Stojakovic getting 19 and Melvin Ely scoring 16. Tyson Chandler worked the boards for 16 rebounds and 10 points.

"The biggest reason (for the team's recent success) has been that our bench has played much better," Scott said. "Our starters have been fantastic all season, but when our bench plays as well as our starting five, we're going to be tough to beat."

Allen Iverson led the injury-depleted Nuggets with 23 points, topping the 22,000 point mark for his career in the third quarter.

High-scoring Carmelo Anthony missed his fourth consecutive game with a sprained left ankle.

"Right now we are struggling to score points, but we caught a great team," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I am not ready to jump on their bandwagon but they're pretty good and I'm not sure what weakness they have," Karl added.

The Western Conference-leading Hornets roared to a 33-22 first-period lead and extended their advantage to 63-40 at halftime.

The Dallas Mavericks won their fourth consecutive game, rolling to a 103-84 road victory over the Memphis Grizzlies behind Josh Howard's 26 points. Dirk Nowitzki added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, who took control of the game in the first quarter when they outscored the Grizzlies 33-19. The win was Dallas's 13th consecutive over Memphis.

Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko each had 23 points and Deron Williams handed out 14 assists as the Utah Jazz won their fifth consecutive game, topping the San Antonio Spurs 97-91. Manu Ginobili scored 29 points and Tim Duncan had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who defeated the Jazz in last season's Western Conference finals.

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