New Orleans cruised to its seventh consecutive win against a Hawks team that shot 29 percent and barely beat the franchise record for fewest points. As it was, the home team did eclipse the previous scoring low since moving to Atlanta 42 years ago, a 73-63 loss to Cleveland in 1996.
Only Jordan Crawford's 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining kept Hawks from their worst offensive effort ever -- a 57-point game in 1955 when the team was in St. Louis.
The Hawks, looking totally listless without injured starters Al Horford and Marvin Williams, missed layups, got beat for seemingly every loose ball and played only occasional defense just three days after perhaps their best win of the season, an overtime triumph at Miami.
It was Atlanta's worst home loss since a 118-74 blowout by Phoenix on March 30, 2000.
The Hawks were actually ahead 29-28 after Joe Johnson's layup with just less than 6 minutes left in the second quarter. It was all Hornets from there.
David West and Marco Belinelli both scored 15 points and Emeka Okafor pulled down 12 rebounds. The Hornets dominated on the boards, 55-32.
Jamal Crawford led the Hawks with 14 points, and Josh Smith was the only player in double figures with 13. Atlanta made just 23-of-79 shots from the field, 4-of-20 3-pointers and got to the foul line a mere 11 times.
New Orleans closed the half on a 21-5 run, with Paul contributing 10 points and assisting on Belinelli's 3-pointer. Atlanta went to the locker room down 49-34 and never recovered.
New Orleans was up 66-36 midway through the third quarter, meaning it outscored Atlanta 38-7 over the equivalent of a quarter. The Hornets led by as many as 43 in what essentially turned into an exhibition game, both teams pulling their starters in the final period.
The Hawks' frustration boiled over when Jason Collins delivered a hard foul on West and was ejected in the opening of the third.
West took a pass from Paul and went in looking for the dunk. Collins doled out the foul with both arms around West's head, prompting a staredown between the players but nothing more serious as the officials jumped in to push the New Orleans player away.
After a review of the replay, Collins was sent to the locker room. Unfortunately for his teammates, they had to watch the rest of it.