Hornets.com postgame: Spurs 106, Hornets 93

Saturday, January 31, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

You won’t see many better examples of why one player alone can’t win a game in the NBA than Saturday’s defeat in San Antonio. Chris Paul turned in an incredible individual offensive performance, tallying a season-high 38 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough against the Southwest Division-leading Spurs.

While Paul needed far more help from his teammates tonight, the Spurs received solid games across their roster. Six different San Antonio players reached double digits in scoring – by the end of the third quarter.

In games when New Orleans (28-16) has fallen behind early this season, Hornets fans have often clamored for Paul to become more aggressive. Well, this game was instructive and again showed why the 6-foot point guard tends to prefer focusing on trying to get his teammates involved instead of looking for his own shot first. Because if the Hornets’ role players don’t contribute, it’s always going to be extremely difficult to win – especially against high-caliber opponents.

The trend of struggling in San Antonio also continued, with the Spurs erasing a brief early deficit and leading nearly wire-to-wire. The Hornets are now 1-9 at San Antonio over the past four seasons (the length of Paul’s NBA career), including three double-digit defeats during the 2008 playoffs.

While there is still a lot of time left in the regular season, this was a big defeat in the Hornets' pursuit of a second straight Southwest Division crown. San Antonio (32-14) upped its lead in the division to three games and evened the season series at 1-1. The way the Spurs are playing right now, having won 17 of their last 21 games, it could take a while and an extended stretch of winning basketball for the Hornets to erase that kind of margin.