NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Malik Rose's playing status was questionable
when the Spurs arrived in New Orleans -- but then he came off the
bench and left little doubt San Antonio was going to dominate
Rose scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds despite a strained
neck, helping the Spurs run away with a 101-78 victory over the
Hornets on Wednesday night.
"Malik was really special tonight. He made me think back and
remember how he used to do that over and over and over again," San
Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "His energy on the boards and
running the floor, moving the basketball, setting the picks, just
being aggressive on the court was really good for us tonight. I
thought he led the way for us."
San Antonio finished with a 51-30 rebounding advantage. The
Spurs had 19 offensive rebounds -- eight by Rose -- leading to 25
second-chance points. The Spurs also outscored New Orleans inside
"That was kind of a big thing for us, attacking the glass,"
said Tim Duncan, who led the Spurs in scoring with 19 points
despite a sore right ankle. "Malik did a hell of a job. He came in
and played some great minutes and got a bunch of boards for us on
The victory put San Antonio (41-12) in a tie with Phoenix for
the league's best record, although Phoenix plays once more before
the All-Star break, hosting Dallas on Thursday.
Manu Ginobili had 13 points and 10 assists for the Spurs, who
led by double digits for much of the second half. The Hornets had
trouble guarding him on drives, several of which he finished with
graceful scoop shots and floaters.
New Orleans was within nine points after Dan Dickau spun the
ball in off the glass as he crashed over the baseline late in the
third quarter. But Beno Udrih opened the fourth quarter with a 3
and Duncan added seven points in the final period as the Spurs
pulled away with little resistance.
"People think we're the best in the West and they are the worst
so we're going to beat them by 30, but it's not like that,"
Ginobili said. "They have beaten really good teams ... so we had
to be humble. We talked about that. There was a chance that some of
us would not be very aggressive and relax."
Rookie J.R. Smith led New Orleans with a career-high 25 points
on 10-of-17 shooting from the field. Dickau finished with 13
points, P.J. Brown 12 and Bostjan Nachbar 10. But New Orleans
struggled at the foul line, going 14-of-23.
"They're a better team than we are and we didn't stick to our
game plan as well as we would have hoped. It's tough to do that
against a good team like that," Dickau said. "We didn't rebound
at all out of the zone and there was a couple of possessions where
they got two offensive rebounds and that's killing 45 seconds ...
and then they scored and that's really deflating."
The Hornets were able to stay with the Spurs through much of the
first half and led 36-35 after Dickau's free throws with 2:41 left
in the second period. Then Parker hit a 3, igniting a 13-4 Spurs
run capped by Bruce Bowen's second of three 3-pointers on the
night, giving San Antonio a 48-40 lead at halftime.
"They're a championship team and what I'd call the gold
standard," P.J. Brown said. "They have great chemistry and a
great system. They know what it is all about right now and we
New Orleans' loss guaranteed the Hornets (11-42) would end
a string of 12 consecutive seasons finishing at .500 or better. ...
The victory assured the Spurs of an eighth straight non-losing
season. ... San Antonio is 22-0 when scoring at least 100 points.