Notebook: Spurs 106, Hornets 102

Posted Jan 24, 2013 12:19 AM

Tim Price, for

THE FACTS: Depleted by the absences of coach Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan, assistant coach Mike Budenholzer called the shots and Tiago Splitter made them with a career-high 25 points off 10-for-11 shooting to lead the Spurs to a 106-102 victory over pesky New Orleans on Wednesday at AT&T Center.

With Kawhi Leonard (left knee contusion) also on the sideline, the Spurs (34-11) managed to win for the sixth time in a row and 15th straight at home. Popovich stayed home with an illness and Duncan was held out for precautionary reasons when his left knee became sore.

Eric Gordon led New Orleans (14-28) with 17 points, but all those came in the first half when he was nearly perfect (5-for-6 from the floor including 3-for-3 from the 3-point line and 4-for-4 from the foul line). He took two shots after halftime and had three turnovers.

QUOTABLE: "With Coach Pop not here and Timmy (Duncan) getting some rest, it was hard. I think everybody played hard tonight to take advantage of the minutes and win the game. My game was working. I was rolling to the basket, and Tony (Parker) found me every time."
-- Splitter

THE STAT: The Hornets went 11-for-13 to start the game and 27-for-68 (39.7 percent) the rest of the way. Additionally, the Spurs turned the ball over 19 times the last time the teams met (New Orleans won 95-88 on Jan. 7). Tonight they had one turnover at halftime and finished with nine, outscoring New Orleans 21-11 off turnovers.

TURNING POINT: San Antonio led 87-86 with 5 1/2 minutes to go when two goaltending calls against Al-Farouq Aminu were keys for the Spurs' fastbreak helping to build a double-digit margin in a span of less than four minutes. The Spurs converted on all five fast-break opportunities in the fourth, and four came in that 14-3 run that gave them a 101-89 lead with 1:42 left.

QUOTABLE II: "We had one quarter where we played a little bit of defense, but I think they just missed shots. They beat us. That's what they do. They missed 11 free throws and we still couldn't win the game."
-- Hornets coach Monty Williams

HOT: Duncan had gone 22-for-40 in three games this season against New Orleans, so Splitter took over the inside presence tonight. Throw out a 4-for-9 night on Monday in Philly and Splitter now is 30-for-38 in a four-game span.

NOT: Gordon wasn't the only Hornets player that was cold in the second half. Other than Greivis Vasquez (4-for-10), the Hornets starters went 1-for-12 after halftime.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Parker helped Splitter pick up the slack without Duncan. Parker scored 24 points and had a season-high 13 assists. He's had a double-double in two of the past three games (he had 20 points and eight assists in the other game).

GOOD MOVE: Robin Lopez started for the Hornets, but the Spurs got Splitter involved early by picking on Lopez. Splitter was 3-for-3 in the first quarter when San Antonio outscored New Orleans 20-10 in the paint. Lopez played seven minutes in the first quarter and seven more minutes the rest of the game.

BAD MOVE: Besides the two goaltending calls against Aminu that opened up the game for San Antonio in the fourth quarter, he also got caught out of place in transition that led to another San Antonio fastbreak basket in the final five minutes. Danny Green stole Gordon, and Gary Neal brought it up the floor and dropped it to Stephen Jackson. He appeared ready to float one from the 3-point line, but Vasquez drifted toward Neal, leaving the lane open when Aminu couldn't protect the lane in transition.

ROOKIE WATCH: Anthony Davis started for the Hornets and played almost 31 minutes after a left ankle sprain limited him to 15 minutes two nights ago against Sacramento. His ankle appeared fine tonight, but he picked up two fouls in the opening 2:45 and went to the bench. He finished with nine points, seven rebounds, one blocked shot and four fouls.

IN THE ARENA: Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington and members of the club's front office had box-level seats. Players from the Houston Astros -- pitcher Brett Wallace and infielders Tyler Greene, Jose Altuve and Marwin Gonzalez -- we're not outdone. They sat courtside.

NOTABLE: The Spurs won the season series with the Hornets 3-1. ... San Antonio has a league-best 19-2 home record.

UP NEXT: For the Hornets, Friday vs. Houston, Sunday @ Memphis, Tuesday @ L.A. Lakers. For the Spurs, Friday @ Dallas, Saturday vs. Phoenix, Wednesday vs. Charlotte.