New Orleans posted its third straight victory to open preseason, building a double-digit second-half lead and holding off a late push by San Antonio. Mike James topped the Hornets with 18 points, including 3-for-4 shooting from three-point range.
Another stingy defensive effort in the third quarter helped key the win. New Orleans outscored the hosts at the AT&T Center by a 20-9 margin in that stanza.
"I'm pretty happy with the way we've been playing," Hornets coach Byron Scott assessed, "but obviously there is still work to be done."
The team returned to New Orleans immediately after Friday's game, in order to prepare for the Hornets' lengthy flight to Europe on Saturday. The Hornets will face the Washington Wizards on Tuesday and Friday in Berlin and Barcelona, respectively.
"I'm actually very excited about going overseas," said Hornets center Tyson Chandler, who led the starters with 14 points. "Preseason can be kind of a long ordeal. Having a chance to break it up (with the trip to Europe) and bring our families overseas, it will make it go a little quicker. It's a quick turnaround, but we're going to try to get some rest on the plane."
Hornets quotes (courtesy San Antonio Spurs)
Head Coach Byron Scott
“I thought during the first half we had trouble getting into our steps and rhythm but when the second half rolled around, we seemed more aggressive. I talked to the team at half time and reminded them about the things we did against Indiana on the defensive end of the ball. Our communication on the court was a little less than it was in our previous game. I need this team to grow consistently with every game.”
“This team has a lot of confidence built up from last year and it helps that we have added some pieces that will make the Hornets a better basketball team. The number one thing this team needs to remember is, if you want to be a champion you need is confidence when you walk on the court. Right now this team has great confidence and we feel when we walk on the court we can beat anyone.”
Point Guard Position:
“It’s a little early to decide however I think Mike James is doing some great things with that position. As much as I like the things Mike is doing I still have to give Devin Brown his opportunity however, I like what Devin is doing with the two guard as well. We just need to keep working as a team.”
Center Tyson Chandler
(on Tim Duncan’s low-post performance tonight)
“He’s getting in shape, so he’s just trying to find his rhythm. He caught rhythm in the second quarter as it looked like Pop was trying to get him going.”
(on the excessive outside shooting of the Spurs tonight)
“Well, they’re missing Ginobili as he is major part of their points in the paint. That’s when the team really poses a threat when you have Ginobili, Parker and Duncan so without him we knew they were going to be a more jump shooting team tonight. So without Ginobili in the equation, we have to make them shoot jump shots.”
Forward James Posey
(on being a part of the Hornets)
“I’m still adjusting to the city but I have heard great things. People there are great, they support the Hornets along with the Saints as the whole city is excited so I’m just ready to get the season started.”
(on the difference of being a apart of this team versus Boston)
“It’s still early, I’m still learning my teammates basketball-wise and off the court as well as trying to get a good feel for the organization. Basketball-wise, you just have to have the mentality for the season and for the long haul as you need to realize what you’re playing for and what you’re playing to achieve. But you have to take it one day at a time.”
(on coming in as the slasher or pacesetter for the team)
“I’m just going to continue to work hard and do whatever the coach needs me to do and that’s what I’m going to do. Just have to accept my role and do whatever the team needs me to do.”