Spurs Too Much for Undermanned Bobcats
San Antonio 104, Charlotte 76
SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 24 (Ticker) -- At full strength, the Charlotte Bobcats would have trouble with the San Antonio Spurs. Extremely shorthanded, they had very little chance.
The Bobcats absorbed their eighth straight loss as they shot just 33 percent from the field in the first half of a 104-76 loss to the Spurs, who went deep into their bench.
"They were primed tonight," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "They just lost one here at home and Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) had them primed and ready. You hate to come in here after they just suffered a loss. Pop had them primed, (player) one through 12."
The Bobcats played without injured starters Emeka Okafor, Gerald Wallace and Kareem Rush and reserves Sean May and Keith Bogans. Their starting lineup included rookie guard Raymond Felton and second-year forward Bernard Robinson and reserves included rookies Alan Anderson and Kevin Burleson.
"It's great to see guys who had to work to get their positions in the league," Popovich said. "No matter where it might be, they have stuck with it. They might have been in several different places or it may have taken certain players a while to get there, but they're a testament to what hard work is all about and it's good to see they're appreciated on an NBA team."
Charlotte made just 8-of-26 shots and did not get to the line in the first quarter, falling into a 25-18 hole. It was more of the same in the second period, when the Bobcats made 8-of-22 shots and simply did not have enough firepower to stay with the Spurs, who opened a 51-36 halftime advantage.
"I'm not surprised they came out so energized," Bobcats guard Brevin Knight said. In their eye, losing a game at home is one of the worst things you can do and they had just done that. We still battled, but to go for as long as we did without making shots, you just can't do that against a team like the Spurs."
Leading the way in the second quarter was Udrih, a second-year guard from Slovenia who had trouble competing in the NBA Finals and has been buried behind Tony Parker and Nick Van Exel on the depth chart, sitting out 17 contests and averaging less than six minutes per game.
"He had a great game tonight," Parker said. "He had a tough playoffs last year and the Spurs decided to get another point guard in the offseason."
Van Exel started for the injured Manu Ginobili, opening some playing time for Udrih, who scored nine points in the second quarter and six more in the third period, which ended with the Spurs holding a 73-53 lead.
Udrih remained on the floor for a garbage-time fourth quarter. He made 7-of-11 shots and added eight assists.
"Coach told us at the beginning of the game we were going to play (a) small lineup, so you must be ready if called upon," Udrih said. "You need to play 100 percent and play hard. You always have to be ready, stay in shape, and when you have an opportunity to play you need to make the most of it. It's a great feeling to step on the court and contribute tonight."
"Beno was waiting for an opportunity to play and tonight he got one and he performed and provided a spark," Spurs guard Brent Barry said. "I'm happy about the way he played tonight."
Tim Duncan had 14 points and nine rebounds and was the only starter to play more than 24 minutes or score in double figures for the Spurs, who shot 56 percent (44-of-78) and held a 45-34 advantage on the boards.
Barry scored 12 points and rookie Fabricio Oberto added 10 for San Antonio, which substituted liberally and received 66 points from its bench. Third-string center Sean Marks scored nine points.
"They (Udrih and Marks) are exactly in the same mold as a Steve Kerr or Danny Ferry," Popovich said. "They show up before practice and stay after practice. They get paid to stay in shape and be ready."
Jumaine Jones had 15 points and nine rebounds and Primoz Brezec and Matt Carroll added 13 points apiece for the Bobcats, who shot 40 percent (32-of-80).
"I told our guys, 'You just saw where we are trying to go. You just saw one of the best as a team and an organization,'" Bickerstaff said. "That is where you want to be. They were ready to play collectively as a whole."