Hornets-Spurs Preview

The Associated Press

Eric Gordon certainly made his presence felt in his first game back following a three-month absence, coming up big for the New Orleans Hornets their last time out.

Leading them to a win over the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs could prove much more difficult.

The Hornets try to avoid a four-game season sweep and a 14th loss in 16 road matchups with the Spurs, who can extend the league's longest active winning streak to 10 on Friday night.

After appearing in just two games and missing 47 straight due to a right knee injury, Gordon made his much-anticipated return during a 94-92 win over Denver on Wednesday. He struggled to get going before scoring 13 of his 15 points in the second half, including the winning free throws with 2 seconds remaining.

"(The knee) feels good," Gordon said. "I just looked forward to winning and my individual game will come as far as stat-wise ... I'm looking forward to Friday."

Chris Kaman had 14 points, 10 rebounds and a season-best five blocks while Greivis Vasquez scored 11 to go along with 10 assists.

New Orleans (14-40), which hasn't won two in a row since a season-best three-game run Feb. 13-17, improved to 2-1 when Gordon plays. He may have to have a very big game, though, for the Hornets to avoid a sweep in this series.

San Antonio's three wins this season give it 10 victories in the last 12 matchups. Two of the wins in 2011-12 came by a combined five points, though those games were at New Orleans Arena.

While the Hornets have managed to hold their own versus the Spurs in their own building, it's been a different story at the AT&T Center of late. New Orleans fell 93-81 at San Antonio on Feb. 2 and is 2-13 in its last 15 visits.

The Spurs (38-14) are coming off a thrilling win of their own, holding on to defeat Boston 87-86 on the road Wednesday. Tim Duncan had 10 points and 16 rebounds for the Spurs, who earned their ninth consecutive victory after Paul Pierce missed the potential winning jumper as time expired.

"It was a great game, great game," Duncan told the league's official website. "We knew coming in here they're a playoff caliber team and there always a tough challenge and it was a good game for us, a good challenge for us."

The Spurs last won 10 in a row during a season-high 11-game run Jan. 30-Feb. 20. San Antonio is 17-2 when Duncan posts a double-double.

While Trevor Ariza and Carl Landry returned from four- and two-game absences for the Hornets on Wednesday, Jarrett Jack sat out with a sore right ankle and is unlikely to suit up Friday. Jack has averaged 26.5 points and shot 56.1 percent in two games against the Spurs this season.

New Orleans, which continues to play without injured center Emeka Okafor, has dropped eight of 11 on the road.

San Antonio, 21-4 at home, plays five of its next six at the AT&T Center.

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