Ginobili hopes to play his second game since returning from a sprained right foot as the Spurs try to improve the NBA’s best home record when they face the New Orleans Hornets.
San Antonio went 5-3 without Ginobili, the team’s third-leading scorer at 14.9 points per game. That’s a poor enough mark for the defending NBA champions to consider it a rough stretch.
Ginobili came off the bench in his return Tuesday and scored nine points in 13 minutes in a 99-86 win over Indiana.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wasn’t saying whether Ginobili would play Thursday.
“His playing is predicated on if he’s healthy enough to play and nothing else,” he said.
The Spurs were glad to have Ginobili back as they improved to an NBA-best 13-1 at home, where they have won eight straight.
“It was great have him back on the floor,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. “It has been tough for him to not be out there. He is going to get back into it.”
It was an uneven performance for Ginobili, who made 3-of-7 from the field and 3-of-7 from the foul line.
“I don’t know when I will get my rhythm back,” Ginobili said. “It won’t take too long. I was only out two weeks. When you can only get on a bike and you can’t get on the floor and play, you lose some rhythm, but hopefully I will be able to get back into it.”
Spurs guard Michael Finley has started the last nine games in Ginobili’s place, averaging 13.2 points. However, Finley is averaging just 6.3 points on 25 percent shooting over his last three starts.
The Hornets are seeking to win two straight against the Spurs for the first time since sweeping both games in 1991-92. New Orleans won 89-76 at home in the first meeting on Dec. 18.
Duncan matched a season-low with 11 points and shot 4-of-12 in a game that featured a brief altercation between Finley and New Orleans’ P.J. Brown.
Feeling he had been fouled by Duncan on a shot block under the basket in the first half, Brown stepped into Finley’s path on his way back up the court and was called for a flagrant foul. Finley stepped toward Brown and pushed the ball into Brown’s chest as others intervened and the two continued jawing at each other.
The Hornets pulled out a 92-90 victory over Houston on Wednesday. David West scored the go-ahead basket with 1.8 seconds left off a feed from rookie Chris Paul, who notched his career-high 15th assist on the play.
New Orleans has dropped six of its last seven road games.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 28): Hornets - 4th place, 9 GB, Southwest Division. Spurs - 1st place, Southwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Hornets - Paul, 16.7 ppg and 7.3 apg; Brown, 7.9 rpg. Spurs - Duncan, 20.9 ppg and 11.7 rpg; Parker, 6.2 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Hornets, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 18; Hornets, 89-76. At Oklahoma City, West scored 19 points and Paul narrowly missed a triple-double with 17 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists as New Orleans forced 23 turnovers in the victory.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Hornets - 5-10 on the road; Spurs - 13-1 at home.