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
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
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
"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
"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