NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 17 (Ticker) --Lee Nailon, P.J. Brown and the New Orleans Hornets fought hard but proved no match for Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

Duncan contributed 19 points and 12 rebounds for his 20th double-double in 24 games as the Spurs returned the Hornets to their losing ways with an 83-67 victory.

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Rookie reserve Beno Udrih added 12 points for San Antonio, which earned its third consecutive victory and 11th in 13 games despite shooting just 43 percent (32-of-75) from the field and 14-of-27 from the line.

"It was just one of those nights," Duncan said. "It wasn't a great night for anybody. Shots weren't falling, but we stuck with it and got some big shots from (Robert Horry) and some big plays from guys off the bench. Manu Ginobili played well, Beno played well, but we were kind of grinding it out for 48 minutes and just lasted longer than (the Hornets)."

New Orleans, which snapped an 11-game skid with a 98-89 triumph over Golden State on Wednesday, led by as many as seven points early in the second quarter and trailed just 53-52 with 2:21 left in the third period before allowing San Antonio to embark on an 18-6 run bridging the final two periods.

Horry, who had season highs of nine points and eight rebounds, sank two 3-pointers during the run, including one that made it 71-58 with 9:29 left.

"We were making shots (early)," said Nailon, who matched his season high with 22 points. "That was the difference down the stretch. We couldn't make shots, and (San Antonio) was making shots. The biggest thing was that we had a lot of open shots we didn't make. (San Antonio) broke the defense down and made open shots."

Ginobili and Tony Parker each had 10 points and five assists for the Spurs, who pulled away by outshooting the Hornets 51 to 30 percent from the floor in the final 14 minutes.

"We played a lot better the (final) three quarters," Duncan said. "It wasn't a situation where we were playing our best basketball. (The Hornets) fought hard. I'll give them credit."

Brown produced 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who shot just 38 percent (29-of-76) and slipped to 2-20 on the season. They are 1-10 at home.

"We executed well. We defended. Our defense was a lot better those first 34 minutes," Brown said. "But we had some defensive breakdowns (down the stretch)."

San Antonio improved to 19-5 - its second-best start in 29 NBA seasons. But coach Gregg Popovich said there's room for improvement.

"The defense is pretty good, but the offense needs a lot of work," Popovich said. "We had a lot of guys returning, so we hoped we'd have a better record at the start than in the past. I hope it doesn't mean we won't have our (strong) finish like we usually do."

"I think we have some growing to do," Duncan said. "But I'm excited about our possibilities."

The Hornets, who produced 16 fast-break points against Golden State, had none in this one and went 0-of-7 from the arc. During the Hornets' first 16 seasons, they scored fewer than 70 points just eight times, but they have done so four times in their last 10 games.

Nailon, who missed the previous four games because of a strained left groin, scored 14 first-half points and hit 10 of his first 17 shots.