MINNEAPOLIS — Chris Paul taught rookie Jonny Flynn another lesson.
Paul streaked past Flynn on an inbounds pass to hit a layup with 1.4 seconds left and lift the New Orleans Hornets to a 97-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Paul finished with 15 points and 14 assists. Trailing by one point with 3.9 seconds to go, Paul threw an inbounds pass to David West. As Flynn turned his head, Paul raced to the basket for a backdoor layup and the win.
Peja Stojakovic scored 21 points and reserve Marcus Thornton added 20 for New Orleans, which snapped a five-game road losing streak.
Al Jefferson had 17 points and a season-high 16 rebounds and Ryan Gomes scored 21 points for the Timberwolves.
Minnesota had a chance to win it in the final seconds, but Wayne Ellington's 3-pointer was well off the mark.
Kevin Love had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Flynn had 14 points and a career-high nine assists for the Timberwolves.
The Wolves led by 16 points midway through the third quarter before the Hornets made their move. Stojakovic hit two 3-pointers and Thornton added another during a 15-2 spurt that cut the deficit to three points.
James Posey hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 8 minutes to play, giving New Orleans its first lead since early in the second quarter. Thornton added another 3 from the elbow for a 91-87 lead with 7 minutes to go.
The young Timberwolves hung in, but had two points taken off the board by review late in the game. Corey Brewer made a baseline jumper to tie the game at 93 with 4:25 to go, but officials weren't able to review the play until two minutes later. Replays showed Brewer did not beat the shot clock, so with 2:47 to go, Minnesota's 97-95 lead turned into a 95-95 tie.
During training camp, Jefferson raised some eyebrows by saying that Flynn would be as good Paul one day.
The last time Paul matched up against Flynn, he was playing his first game in three weeks. He scorched the rookie and the Wolves, racking up 16 points, 15 assists, eight steals and six rebounds in a 98-89 victory in New Orleans last Friday.
Flynn went toe-to-toe with Paul on Wednesday.
In his third game back from a sprained left ankle, Paul was his usual dazzling self early in the game. He had five assists in the first quarter, one on a brilliant two-on-one break. With Flynn backpedaling and Stojakovic on the wing, Paul made a behind-the-back dribble through his legs before dishing to Stojakovic for the easy layup.
Flynn came right back, finishing the first quarter with a flourish. Using a pick-and-roll to get to the elbow, he floated a perfect lob pass to Ryan Hollins for a dunk just before the period ended. It was quintessiential CP3, who made a living threading those alley-oop passes to Tyson Chandler to help the Hornets to the Western Conference finals two years ago.
NOTES: The Timberwolves play the Lakers in Los Angeles on Friday night in coach Kurt Rambis's first game against his former team. Rambis will receive the championship ring he earned as an assistant last year. ... New Orleans made 13 3-pointers, the sixth time they have hit at least 10 in a game. Only Orlando (13), Phoenix (12) and New York (11) have hit 10 3s in a game on more occasions.