Spurs - Hornets Preview
The annual rodeo trip is quickly approaching for the San Antonio Spurs.
The way they've struggled on the road, the Spurs need to make the most of their brief time at home.
San Antonio looks to improve its league-best home record Thursday night when it meets the Western Conference-worst New Orleans Hornets.
Back from a 1-2 trip, the Spurs (14-9) erased an 18-point third-quarter deficit and opened their three-game homestand Wednesday with a 99-91 victory over Houston.
The Spurs are 11-1 at home, and they'll try to continue their strong play there before kicking off a season-high nine-game trip following Saturday's game against NBA-leading Oklahoma City.
San Antonio, 3-8 on the road, posted a 104-102 victory in New Orleans on Jan. 23 for its eighth win in 10 meetings with the Hornets.
Tim Duncan finished with a season-high 28 points in that contest, including a 13-foot game-winning shot over Emeka Okafor with 1.4 seconds left.
The 35-year-old forward was just as dominant Wednesday, scoring 16 of his 24 points in the third quarter and grabbing seven rebounds.
"Tim Duncan, he went to the fountain of youth or something yesterday, 'cause today he looked phenomenal," guard Gary Neal said after hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 15 of the Spurs' 41 bench points.
So did Tony Parker, who made half of his 16 field-goal attempts and scored 24 points after shooting 4 for 20 in the previous two games.
The Spurs' point guard also handed out four assists to move within 14 of passing Avery Johnson for the most in team history with 4,475.
Parker had a career-high 17 assists and scored 20 points in last month's victory in New Orleans.
The Hornets (4-18) make their first of two visits to San Antonio this season following Wednesday's 120-103 home loss to Phoenix.
Backup guard Greivis Vasquez had career highs with 20 points and 12 assists - the first Hornet reserve with 20 points and 10 assists in a game - but New Orleans' highest-scoring game of the season wasn't enough as it yielded its most points since a 121-89 road loss to Dallas on April 13.
"It seems like we had the game in hand (with a 13-point second-quarter lead) or had a rhythm to the game that was in our favor," said point guard Jarrett Jack, who had 26 points, nine assists and six boards in the Jan. 23 defeat. "To let them come back in the fashion and quick manner they did is just difficult."
The Hornets will try to rebound from their 18th loss in 20 games by snapping a four-game road losing streak. New Orleans' last five-game skid away from home was an 0-7 stretch Nov. 29-Dec. 27, 2010.
San Antonio, which has won 12 of 14 at home in this series, is trying to match a season high with its third straight win.
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