Spurs Go Wire-to-Wire To Topple Hornets
San Antonio 84, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 68
OKLAHOMA CITY, Jan. 25 (Ticker) -- On back-to-back days, the San Antonio Spurs did the same thing to Charlotte's new and old teams.
Tim Duncan scored 17 points to lead a balanced attack on both ends as the Spurs rolled to their sixth win in seven games, an 84-68 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
"Sometimes it's about getting off to good starts like we did tonight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Some nights it just happens. You just have to bring the juice every night and we've done that the last few nights."
"Last night, we didn't have to play the whole game, so it gave us extra energy to play tonight," Duncan said. "It was huge for us to come out and get to a quick lead. We were good defensively and were able to get a lot of rebounds and hold them to one shot."
San Antonio got off to a flying start as it scored 11 of the first 13 points before taking a 23-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Duncan scored eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and Nick Van Exel added six of his 13 off the bench with a pair of 3-pointers.
"The last time we came here, I remember the whooping they put on us (an 89-76 loss December 18)," Van Exel said. "As a team, we were a little bit more focused. We did a good job of getting back in transition so they couldn't run on us like they do most teams."
Rasual Butler, who scored 15 points off the bench, helped the Hornets shave their deficit to 30-21 on a pair of free throws with 7:11 left in the first half.
The Spurs held a 42-32 lead at the break and saw it bulge to 22 by the end of the third period behind another eight-point session by Duncan, a two-time MVP.
David West also scored 15 points for the Hornets, who shot just 31 percent (22-of-71) en route to their worst offensive output of the season.
The Hornets had a season-low 11 points in the first quarter and tied a franchise low with seven assists. They nearly broke three other team lows - points (65), baskets (21), and shooting percentage (30 percent).
"We just didn't have it tonight," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "If you look at the last two games, we're not same team. We're not playing with the same energy or sense of urgency, and that's what we have to do to win, especially against a good of a team as San Antonio."