Spurs 112, Hornets 77

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)—The New Orleans Hornets had the misfortune of playing San Antonio one night after the Spurs’ worst loss of the season.

Almost everything the Spurs did poorly Friday night in a 19-point loss to Houston, they did well in a 112-77 romp over the Hornets on Saturday night.

Tony Parker scored 19 points, Manu Ginobili had 17 and four others reached double figures as the Spurs shot a season-high 62.9 percent. On Friday night, the Spurs made 40.3 percent of their shots in a 97-78 loss to the Rockets in San Antonio.

The Spurs eclipsed the 100-point mark for the 17th time this season, thanks to 12-of-16 shooting from 3-point range—75 percent, another season high. San Antonio entered the game leading the NBA in 3-point shooting at 41.3 percent.

“We know what we’re capable of, and to have a game like that (against Houston), it was very disappointing for everybody,” San Antonio forward Bruce Bowen said. “We just tried to make amends for that.”

The Spurs have won five straight games against the Hornets, including three in a row on the road—two in nine days. On Dec. 14, the Spurs routed the Hornets in New Orleans 103-77.

After an 8-3 start, the injury-riddled Hornets—playing without three of their top six players—have lost 12 of 15.

“We’re always a good defensive team, but this year we haven’t gotten that consistency yet,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “I thought that tonight, we did, and of course New Orleans gave us a break with the number of guys that they have out at this point.”

Chris Paul led the Hornets with 20 points, but from the middle of the second quarter on, New Orleans trailed by double digits and never made a serious run at the Spurs. Hornets coach Byron Scott, who usually stands during games, did not rise from the bench in the second half, except during timeouts.

“I didn’t think we got into it at all,” Scott said. “I thought last night’s game (a 100-97 overtime win over Memphis) looked like it took a little more out of us than it should have. I thought that we would be a lot more ready than we were tonight.

“You know after losing the way they did last night (the Spurs) were going to come in here ready (to play).”

New Orleans’ lone bright spot was on the boards, where the Hornets outrebounded San Antonio 40-32.

San Antonio is 10-2 in December and has won six of its last seven games.

The Spurs shot 60.5 percent from the field in the first half and led by as many as 17 points before settling for a 60-48 halftime lead.

San Antonio took the lead for good at 14-12 on a 3-point play by Parker midway through the first quarter and led 30-20 by the end of the period.

The Hornets twice cut the lead to one point, the final time at 36-35 with 6:57 left before halftime, but the Spurs used a 24-8 run—highlighted by 3-pointers from Bowen, Matt Bonner and Michael Finley—to go up 60-43.

Down by 12 at halftime, New Orleans came no closer in the second half. The Spurs stretched their lead to 20 points by midway through the third quarter and it peaked at 35 points.

“When the ball is moving and the guys are making the open shots it makes everything else seem like a cinch,” said Tim Duncan, who scored 11 points— more than 10 points below his career average against the Hornets. “It’s great to have nights like this, especially after the night we had last night. We were basically the exact opposite of last night.”

The Spurs reached the 100-point mark with 6:51 left on a jumper by Finley. San Antonio finished the game with more assists (33) than rebounds, led by Jacque Vaughn, who had 11.

“The biggest thing for us tonight was sharing the ball,” Ginobili said. “When your shots are open it’s more likely that they’re going in.”

Bowen scored 15 points and Matt Bonner added 14 for San Antonio. Rasual Butler scored 16 points for the Hornets.

Notes

Paul, who entered the game third in the league in assists, did not record one Saturday until two minutes into the third quarter and finished with three, matching his season low. … San Antonio’s previous best shooting outing of the season came Wednesday, when the Spurs hit 55.2 percent from the field in a win over Memphis … The game drew 19,164 fans to the Ford Center, giving the Hornets their sixth sellout of the season. Five of those have come in Oklahoma City, with one in New Orleans.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 San Antonio
T. Parker T. Parker
8-11,  19 Pts
5 Rebs, 9 Assists
 New Orl/OKC
C. Paul C. Paul
9-18,  20 Pts
1 Rebs, 3 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
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Scoreboard

Saturday, Dec 23