Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/17

Game 1: Friday, December 17th
Game 2: Saturday, January 29th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 16th
Game 4: Monday, March 14th

Spurs 101

(41-12, 18-11 away)

Hornets 78

(11-42, 8-16 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    8:00 PM ET, February 16, 2005

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 17 31 20 33101
    NO 18 22 19 1978

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Duncan 19 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Blk

    NO: J. Smith 25 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    Duncan scores 19; Ginobili has double-double

    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 inside.

    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 50-32.

    "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 both ends."

    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."

    Tony Parker and Rasho Nesterovic each scored 12 points for San Antonio, which has never lost a game in the New Orleans Arena in four visits. Reserve Devin Brown scored 10 points.

    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 don't."

    Game notes

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 101 78
    FGM-FGA 40-88 (.455) 30-68 (.441)
    3PM-3PA 7-14 (.500) 4-12 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 14-18 (.778) 14-23 (.609)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 19-51 5-30
    Assists 27 20
    Turnovers 9 13
    Steals 9 5
    Blocks 7 12
    Fast Break Points 7 11
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (1/0) 16 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 23 4

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    New Orleans
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 19
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    J.R. Smith Smith
    Points: 25
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0