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article imageNBA: Spurs win third straight, top New Orleans 93-83

By Lynn Herrmann     Feb 3, 2012 in Sports
San Antonio - Dragging the worst record in the Western Conference to San Antonio on Thursday night, the New Orleans Hornets took on theirs hosts, matching them basket for basket through three quarters before falling to a quickly improving Spurs defense, 93-83.
Still struggling with the aftereffects of losing star point guard Chris Paul in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Hornets are facing the reality of a long season in a lockout-shortened one. Their loss to the Spurs put them on a four-game skid and dropped their record to 4-19.
As much as any team in the league, the Hornets are showing the NBA is clearly an international sport, boasting a roster with players from Valenzuela, Italy, and Mexico.
While the Hornets’ international flavor may have fit with the city of San Antonio’s rich culture, the talent did little to match the sometimes methodical but relentless pressure applied by the Spurs emerging defense on Thursday night, at least during the deciding fourth quarter.
Although New Orleans carried a one-point lead into intermission, 45-44, led by Carl Landry’s energy off the bench, it was largely due to a sluggish Spurs team playing its fourth game in five nights, two of those as back-to-backs on the road.
San Antonio was once again led by point guard Tony Parker’s innate ability at directing traffic. The product from France had seven assists for the evening, almost matching his season average of 7.8, a career-best which currently ranks him 9th in the NBA.
Even with a small 8-0 run early in the second quarter, the Hornets were up by just four, 34-30. It would be their largest lead of the game until the third quarter, when a 7-0 run put them up again by four, 52-48. From there, the Spurs defense wore down New Orleans.
Landry led the Hornets with 17 points, followed by Greivis Vasquez with 16.
For San Antonio, Tim Duncan once again carried the team, as he had done the night before against the Houston Rockets, with 19 points, nine rebounds, an assist, two steals and a block. Parker added 18 points to his assist total in helping the Spurs to their third straight win.
Another factor for the Spurs recent success is the continued development of Tiago Splitter, the second-year player from Blumenau, Brazil and former Spanish League MVP in 2010. Against the Hornets, he dropped in 16 points while grabbing seven boards.
The Spurs, still without shooting guard Manu Ginobili who will be out for at least another week as his broken left hand mends, have still managed to spend much of the season at or near the top of the Southwest Division.
San Antonio’s win over New Orleans improved its home record to 12-1, but a big challenge comes Saturday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder come to town. Then a nine-game stint puts the Spurs into their annual Rodeo Road Trip.
More about NBA, San antonio spurs, tiago splitter, Tim duncan, Carl landry
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