Notebook: Hornets 95, Spurs 88



Posted Jan 7, 2013 11:16 PM

By Bradley Handwerger, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The New Orleans Hornets relied on energy from Eric Gordon and team defense to hold off the San Antonio Spurs 95-88. And for only the second time this season, the Hornets (9-25) have won two games in a row with Monday night's win coming two nights after New Orleans won in Dallas.

The Spurs (27-10), meanwhile, lost for the second time in three games, both coming on the road.

Gordon hit three straight long jumpers in the middle of the fourth quarter to provide cushion for New Orleans. He finished the game with 24 points, including going 6 of 6 from the free-throw line.

But it was New Orleans' defense which gave San Antonio fits all night. The Hornets forced 19 Spurs turnovers, including a season-high 12 steals, and turned those mishaps into 23 points. And rookie forward Anthony Davis harried San Antonio's Tim Duncan enough to make the future Hall of Famer ineffective, going just 5 of 14 for 13 points.

Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 21 points and Tony Parker added 16.

For New Orleans, Davis put up 17 points and nine rebounds while Greivis Vasquez added 14 points and 11 assists.

QUOTABLE: "We played a well-coached, aggressive, well-executing team. They did a great job at both ends of the court. They just whipped us."
--San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich's opening statement after Monday's loss.

THE STAT: 20-10. That's New Orleans' advantage in second-chance points. New Orleans attacked the basket all night and when the shots didn't fall, a bevy of players were in position to capture the miss and put it back. The Hornets outrebounded San Antonio on the offensive glass 14-9 and outscored the Spurs 46-34 in the paint.

TURNING POINT: The Hornets' held a tenuous lead for much of the game after the third quarter, never quite putting the game out of reach until a big run in the fourth quarter. After San Antonio's Gary Neal hit a jumper to pull the Spurs to 78-75 with 7:29 to go, New Orleans opened the game up with a 12-4 run and never looked back. And Gordon was the instigator. He hit three consecutive shots -- a 17-foot fade away, a 21-foot jumper and a 16-foot fade away -- and the Hornets never led by fewer than seven points the rest of the way.

QUOTABLE II: "It felt like we played 48 minutes and we've really struggled with that with this group. And that was huge. It felt like we were tight together. It felt like this was our group."
-- New Orleans' Ryan Anderson on if Monday night felt for the first time like the game was supposed to feel.

NOT: The Hornets' Anderson has been shooting 44 percent all season. But against San Antonio, he couldn't find his rhythm and finished only 4 of 13 from the floor for 13 points. The team's leader in 3-pointers was 3 of 6 from beyond the arc.

NOTABLE: Monday's loss was the first for the Spurs against the Hornets in seven games. San Antonio still leads the season series 2-1. ... Vasquez's double-double was his 10th of the season. ... Of the Spurs' 10 losses this season, eight have come on the road. ... Popovich told New Orleans' Davis afterwards Monday night that the way the Hornets played was why teams should keep playing hard in spite of rough stretches. Davis said the Spurs coach then wished him good luck the rest of the way.

UP NEXT: For the Hornets, Wednesday vs. Houston, Friday vs. Minnesota, Sunday at Knicks. For the Spurs, Wednesday vs. Lakers, Friday @ Memphis, Sunday vs. Minnesota.