San Antonio 99, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 86

SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 19 (AP) -- The Spurs did just enough to snap their mini-losing streak.

Tony Parker scored 23 points and Tim Duncan had 12 points and 16 rebounds for San Antonio in a 99-86 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

"We didn't play brilliant, that sharp. We made many mistakes during the game, but we made some progress,'' said Manu Ginobili, who had 19 points as the Spurs broke a two-game losing streak. They had lost five of nine.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich may have agreed, but he was ejected with 6:21 left in the first quarter after getting two technicals for arguing with officials after a foul was called on Duncan.

David West, in his first game since missing the last 30 with a right elbow injury, scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Hornets. Bobby Jackson, also back from an injury, had 14 points. Tyson Chandler added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

"I was anxious to get back out there and play. We really wanted to come out of this with a win,'' said West, who logged nearly 33 minutes. "Dealing with a team like the Spurs, you can't dig a hole, especially with them at home.''

Spurs assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo, who took over, said he thought Popovich wanted the first technical.

"If Timmy gets that call every time somebody bumps up against him he's going to shoot about 85 free throws in a game,'' Carlesimo said. "So, I don't think he minded the first tech. I didn't think he was looking to go. He wasn't looking to come in and watch the game. We thought the game was an important game for us.''

After Popovich left the court, the Spurs went on a 17-4 run to close the quarter up 26-12.

"One thing is the coach, another thing is the players,'' Ginobili said. "Sometimes the coach has got to do it. But we sometimes lose our focus for doing that. So coaches can do whatever they want but we've just got to worry about playing good.''

The Spurs extended their lead in the second and were up 53-36 at the half. Ginobili led the Spurs with 15 points; Parker had 13. West led the Hornets with 10.

Hornets coach Byron Scott said he was pleased with West and Jackson.

"It's good to see we have a couple of other weapons out there. Both of those guys played real well,'' he said. "We need to get those guys out there because we ran some sets and they were like, they didn't remember it. That's going to take a little time.''

Jannero Pargo, who had 11 points, made three straight shots for the Hornets to cut the Spurs' lead to eight with 7:08 left in the fourth. But the Hornets would get no closer than that as Parker led the way.

Scott and guard Rasual Butler received technicals with 5:56 left in the third. With one minute left in the game, the Hornets' Desmond Mason, who had 11 points, was ejected when he slammed the ball to the floor after being called for an offensive foul. Chris Paul, who was on the bench wearing street clothes, was ejected, too, for jawing at the officials after Mason was booted.

Spurs center Francisco Elson, who has been out since late December and missed 11 games with a small tear in his right rotator cuff, returned to the lineup just into the second quarter. He had four points in just over 11 minutes of play.

Notes: Paul is out with an ankle injury and Peja Stojakovic (back) is also sidelined for the Hornets. Jackson has been on day-to-day with cracked ribs. ... The Hornets take on the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday in Oklahoma City. The Spurs visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. ... The Spurs beat the Hornets twice in December. Both games were on the road for San Antonio.


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