Two of the San Antonio Spurs’ best players should be well-rested for a matchup against one of the league’s worst teams.
The Spurs have won all four matchups from the Bobcats by an average of 18.0 points.
San Antonio got huge contributions from its bench to post its fifth consecutive win overall and seventh straight over Houston, 92-84 on Tuesday.
After the Rockets built a 74-55 third-quarter lead, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich benched Duncan and Parker. San Antonio responded with a 20-1 run, during which Beno Udrih scored eight of his 11 points.
“Our bench did one heck of a job to get us back in it,” said Duncan, who had 19 points and 15 rebounds for his third straight double-double. “Pop took us out because we were turning the ball over and not making shots. But our bench came in and they were the difference.”
Duncan is averaging 20.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in three games against Charlotte. He missed the first-ever meeting between the teams in February 2005 with a sprained ankle.
Parker, who shot just 4 of 13 from the floor for a season-low eight points before being benched, saw his scoring average drop from 24.5 points to 21.3.
In the Spurs’ 104-76 win Jan. 24 over the Bobcats, Parker had only eight points in just under 24 minutes while Udrih had season highs of 17 points and eight assists. Even with that poor outing, Parker is shooting 61.4 percent (35-of-57) and averaging 18.8 points lifetime versus the Bobcats.
Charlotte (1-6) opened a three-game road trip Tuesday with its fourth straight loss after falling to New Orleans 94-85.
“We’re hurting ourselves,” Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “There is nothing wrong with the effort. It’s the turnovers. They have been at critical times and they’ve killed us. We have no value for the basketball.”
The Bobcats, who had 18 turnovers in their latest loss, are tied with the Magic for the league lead with 19.7 turnovers per game. Charlotte has played one less game than Orlando.
Emeka Okafor, limited to 26 games last season by an ankle injury, recorded his fourth straight double-double with 25 points and 16 rebounds. Okafor, the 2004-05 rookie of the year, has played well during the losing streak, averaging 23.8 points and 16.0 rebounds in that span.
Okafor, though, has just eight points and 19 rebounds in two career games versus the Spurs.
Adam Morrison, the third overall pick in past season’s draft, matched a season high with 21 in his second career start. Morrison, who went 9-for-18 from the field and grabbed his first offensive rebound in Tuesday’s defeat, is shooting just 36.0 percent from the field but leads all rookies in scoring at 13.1 points per game.
The Bobcats and Spurs will complete their season series Dec. 6 at Charlotte.