(AP) - Chris Paul had 40 points and nine assists, and the New Orleans Hornets used a third-quarter spurt to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-98 on Wednesday night.
Paul shot 17-of-25 from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, as the Hornets won their third straight. It marked the second-highest point total in Paul's career. Only his 43 points against the Grizzlies on Dec. 7 was better.
Peja Stojakovic finished with 21 points and David West added 20 for the Hornets, who shot 56 percent.
Rudy Gay and Mike Miller led Memphis with 19 points apiece, while Kyle Lowry finished with 15 on 6-of-8 from the field. Lowry also had eight assists.
Pau Gasol, the Grizzlies' second-leading scorer, finished with eight points, ending a streak of 81 games in double figures. That was the third-highest in the league behind Carmelo Anthony and Ray Allen .
Paul helped the Hornets run the lead to as many as 18 in the third quarter, scoring 16 points and handing out four assists in the period.
The Hornets eventually extended the lead to 20 points in the fourth.
Gasol, who seemed to settle for outside shots most of the night rather than challenge Tyson Chandler, was booed on several occasions when he didn't take the ball to the basket. Chandler finished with 13 rebounds and 12 points, while Gasol managed only six shots.
New Orleans led 52-50 at the break behind 15 points from Paul and 12 by West. Miller scored 15 in the tight half, when both teams shot 50 percent.
Paul helped the Hornets break away in the third period, scoring nine points and assisting on two more baskets before the midway point of the quarter, keying an early 15-5 run. Stojakovic added 10 points to help New Orleans carry a 86-73 lead into the final period.
Notes: Grizzlies G Mike Conley returned to full contact practice Tuesday night, meaning his return from injury is much closer. The rookie from Ohio State has been out of action since injuring his right shoulder against Dallas on Nov. 17. "You wouldn't have thought he had a shoulder surgery," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said before Wednesday's game. "Moving around well. He was quick. He needs to get in better shape, but that will come with play." Iavaroni wouldn't give a specific time on the first-round pick's return. ... New Orleans won the two previous games in this year's series with Memphis in overtime. ... West was whistled for a technical late in the first half by Steve Javie after West argued a no-call. Then Iavaroni got called for a tech midway through the third period for arguing with official Marc Davis. The weirdest tech of the night, though, came with just under 3 minutes left when substitution confusion by the Hornets left New Orleans with only four players on the court.