San Antonio wins series 4-3 (Game 2 of 7)

San Antonio wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, May 3rd
Game 2: Monday, May 5th
Game 3: Thursday, May 8th
Game 4: Sunday, May 11th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 13th
Game 6: Thursday, May 15th
Game 7: Monday, May 19th

Spurs 84

(56-26, 22-19 away)

Hornets 102

(56-26, 30-11 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    8:30 PM ET, May 5, 2008

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 23 20 18 2384
    NO 22 20 36 24102

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Duncan 18 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Blk

    NO: C. Paul 30 Pts, 2 Reb, 12 Ast, 1 Stl

    Paul, Hornets leave Spurs looking for answers after Game 2 win

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Chris Paul's surgical drive past the San Antonio defense ended with a high, razzle-dazzle dribble and a soft, floating shot off the glass as a packed crowd broke into a thunderous frenzy.

    "These are some of the best moments, I think, of my life that we're experiencing right now," Paul said. "We're just riding a wave right now."

    Time To Panic?

    It hasn't happened too often, but when the Spurs lose the first two games of a playoff series, history shows it's not a good look for them.
    '08 HornetsConf. Semis?
    '01 LakersConf.
    L, 4-0
    '98 JazzConf. SemisL, 4-1
    '95 RocketsConf.
    L, 4-2
    '93 SunsConf. SemisL, 4-2
    Each team that went up 2-0 on the Spurs reached the NBA Finals.

    It's a wave that wiped out the Dallas Mavericks and is now crashing hard on the defending champion Spurs.

    Paul had 30 points and 12 assists, leading the New Orleans Hornets to a 102-84 victory Monday night and a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven, second-round series.

    Peja Stojakovic made five 3-pointers and scored 25 points for the Hornets, who've won both games by wide margins in becoming the first team to put San Antonio in an 0-2 playoff hole since 2001, when the Spurs were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals.

    "We're definitely a little shocked," Spurs forward Kurt Thomas said. "You can't take anything away from them. They are playing extremely well. If one person's not going, someone else is stepping up."

    Game 3 is Thursday in San Antonio.

    After allowing David West to score a career playoff-high 30 points in the series opener, the Spurs held the All-Star power forward to 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting. But West remained active under the basket with 10 rebounds.

    "We're trying to make sure our defense is where we want to start. We don't worry about what we're doing on the offensive end," West said. "We stuck to what we do."

    Tyson Chandler had 11 rebounds and all of his five points, including an alley-oop dunk of Paul's lob, during a key stretch midway through the fourth quarter when the Hornets prevented San Antonio from getting within single digits.

    Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 18 points and eight rebounds, far better than his miserable Game 1, when he tied a career playoff low with five points and three rebounds. But by the final minutes, Duncan was on the bench, resting his cheek on his hand with a dejected 100-yard stare.

    "It's just frustrating losing. That's the biggest thing," Duncan said. "They've obviously done an excellent job defensively, frustrating all of us with their double-teaming, with their shifting. ... It seems like they come the other way and they're not missing shots. That stacked on top of each other just makes the whole game very frustrating."

    Manu Ginobili had 13 points for the Spurs and Tony Parker, guarded mostly by Paul, was limited to 11 and had two shots blocked by Chandler. Brent Barry added 14, some of it when the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter.

    The Spurs continued to settle for 3-pointers, going 8-of-27 from that distance and finishing at 42.5 percent shooting overall. The Hornets shot 48 percent.

    Duncan had seven points in the first eight minutes, luring Chandler into two early fouls and tying the score at 17 on a follow shot as he was fouled by Chandler's replacement, Melvin Ely.

    Thomas, who scored only two points in Game 1, also had seven in the first quarter.

    Ginobili scored six points during an 8-0 run that put the Spurs up 29-22 early in the second quarter. New Orleans hit back with a 9-2 run that included Jannero Pargo's two jumpers and rookie Julian Wright's 3, which tied the game at 31.

    Paul, who had 11 points in the first half, gave New Orleans a 42-40 lead with eight seconds left in the second quarter. Parker then hit a 3 from the corner at the buzzer to put San Antonio up 43-42 at halftime.

    The Hornets, however, opened the second half with a 10-0 run that included 3s by Stojakovic and Morris Peterson, who scored 12 points. Stojakovic's driving floater capped it, giving New Orleans a 52-43 lead.

    With Paul spearheading an up-tempo attack, New Orleans kept the pressure on throughout a 36-point third quarter. Paul used heady ball-handling to goad the Spurs into fouls, putting them over the limit with 4:06 left in the period. Meanwhile, Paul and Stojakovic each added another 3, the second putting New Orleans up 70-56.

    As the quarter ended, Paul's high dribble on his crowd-pleasing, driving floater gave the Hornets a 78-61 lead heading into the final period.

    Then the Hornets, who won Game 1 by 19, used a 10-0 run that included one of Stojakovic's 3s and another driving layup by Paul through traffic to go up 95-76 with just over three minutes left, leading both coaches to go with reserve lineups soon after.

    "I am proud of way our team has played. ... We've had a heck of season. We've still got a lot of people out there that doubt us. I think that's what fuels these guys. We've been proving people wrong all season," Hornets coach Byron Scott said.

    "We've got a young bunch of guys that are very, very hungry and they're playing right now for respect more than anything ... because there's not a lot of people out there who feel we have a real good shot of winning this series."

    That may not be the case for long.

    Game notes

    Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker and actor Isaiah Washington were in the audience, as well as former LSU defensive lineman and Kansas City Chiefs top draft choice Glenn Dorsey ... Attendance was 17,927, the Hornets' 11th straight sellout. ... The Hornets have never won a second-round series. They are 0-4 in the second round of the playoffs.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 102
    FGM-FGA 31-73 (.425) 36-75 (.480)
    3PM-3PA 8-27 (.296) 10-17 (.588)
    FTM-FTA 14-19 (.737) 20-24 (.833)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-40 7-41
    Assists 24 22
    Turnovers 15 9
    Steals 3 6
    Blocks 4 2
    Fast Break Points 3 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 19 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 7 21

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    New Orleans
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 18
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 30
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 12
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0