Tim Duncan led the Spurs to an 83-69 win Friday night with 19
points and 12 rebounds, but it was reserves Horry and Udrih who
came through when the game was close.
After the Hornets pulled within one point late in the third
quarter, Horry and Udrih fueled an 18-6 run that sent the Spurs on
their way to their third straight win and 11th in 13 games.
"We had to find some guys who could play with a little bit more
aggression and who were competing harder," Spurs coach Gregg
Udrih scored 12 points in 18 minutes on a combination of drives
and jumpers, while Horry hit three 3-pointers during a key run in
the second half, helping San Antonio extend its lead to double
San Antonio's ability to win with its depth stood in stark
contrast to the Hornets, who have five players on the injured list,
including former All-Stars Baron Davis, Jamaal Magloire and Jamal
Mashburn, who is expected to be out for the season.
"In games like this, where a team is depleted with injuries,
they come out with nothing to lose and they play extremely well,"
Horry said. "They came out in the first quarter and we just had to
weather the storm."
Lee Nailon, who missed five games due to a strained groin,
scored 22 points for New Orleans, while P.J. Brown added 16 points
and 10 rebounds. David Wesley finished with 10 points for the
Hornets, who managed just one field goal in the final 8½ minutes.
The Spurs shot only marginally better than New Orleans and went
14-for-27 from the line. San Antonio outrebounded the Hornets
45-34. New Orleans shot 9-for-11 from the line.
"It wasn't a great night for anybody. Shots weren't falling,
but we kind of stuck with it, got some big shots from Rob and some
big plays from those guys off the bench," Duncan said. "We just
kind of ground it out for the 48 minutes."
The Spurs (19-5) now have their second-best start through 24
games, but Popovich was stingy with his compliments.
"We had a lot of guys back this season," he said. "Our
defense is pretty good; our offense needs a lot of work."
New Orleans was within 53-52 late in the third quarter after a
10-2 run that started and ended with jumpers by Nailon. The Hornets
had a chance to take the lead on their next possession, but Dan
Dickau forced up a quick 3-pointer that missed.
Malik Rose then scored inside to start a 9-0 for the Spurs that
included Horry's first 3-pointer. Horry's second 3 capped a 7-0 run
early in the fourth quarter, giving San Antonio a 71-58 lead.
New Orleans got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
San Antonio has "a good team out there -- pretty healthy, pretty
solid," Wesley said. "This is hard for us. We played good
quarters ... San Antonio gives you a steady diet of what they do
and they do it well."
The Hornets, who led 23-16 early in the second quarter, had only
one field goal in the last three minutes of the period -- a
14-footer by Nailon. San Antonio used baskets by Duncan, Parker and
Ginobili to take a 44-38 halftime lead.
The Spurs have had the same starting lineup in all 24
games, while the injury-riddled Hornets have used eight starting
lineups in 22 games. ... San Antonio had 16 offensive rebounds,
leading to 14 second-chance points. ... The Hornets failed to make
a 3-pointer (0-for-7) for the first time this season. ... Dickau
hit a jumper at the first quarter buzzer, marking his third
last-second shot in five quarters.