When a team’s star player scores 24 points, their number one draft pick controls the paint on both sides of the floor, and a team turns the ball over 19 times in an NBA game, the outcome probably isn’t good for one side.
That’s exactly what happened on Monday to the San Antonio Spurs as they were defeated 95-88 at the hands of the 9-25 New Orleans Hornets (last in the Western Conference). Eric Gordon continued to find the answers any time the Spurs would try to make a comeback, while the youngster Anthony Davis scored 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and was involved in a majority of the Spurs’ 19 turnovers that resulted in 23 Hornet points.
Tony Parker did as much as he could with 16 points on 7-of-11 shots, but even he turned the ball over five times. Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 21 points off the bench, but the 3-pointers he needed most down the stretch just didn’t fall either. Tim Duncan scored 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and blocked three shots in just three quarters, but even he accumulated five turnovers.
Here’s the rundown of the Spurs’ loss in which the Hornets really took the Spurs’ offense out of its normal routine.
First quarter: Spurs 19, Hornets 24
Hornets starting defense – Behind Davis and Gordon, the Hornets’ defense limited San Antonio’s offense in the first quarter by holding the Spurs to just 10 points with three minutes in the quarter behind a 10-2 run. The Spurs’ bench would respond to cut the once eight-point lead to five, but the Spurs had already managed to turn the ball over seven times in the first quarter as the team struggled to penetrate into the lane. .
Second quarter: Spurs 41, Hornets 49
Davis’ impact on both sides – The Spurs’ offense continued to struggle as the team turned the ball over four more times in the second as Davis helped the Hornets hold the Spurs to 22 points, while the Hornets scored 25 in the second quarter. Davis was effective on both sides of the floor for New Orleans, on offense he was grabbing offensive rebounds and catching balls in the air for easy layups for his way to 10 points at the half. In the paint defensively, just by putting his arms up, Davis altered the Spurs’ layup attempts and even took a charge.
“Big 3” carry Spurs – One of the only positive’s for the Spurs were their “Big 3”of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili in the first half. The three stars combined for 26 of the Spurs’ 41 points on 10-of-19 shooting in two quarters.
Third quarter: Spurs 65, Hornets 70
Aside from Parker, Spurs’ starters struggle – The Spurs’ starters continued to struggle at the hands of the Hornets’ defense. Parker was the exception as he poured 10 points in the third quarter. The team fell behind 13 points at one time in the third and for a majority of the quarter, they were held to just 14 points.
8-0 run by bench – The Spurs’ bench of Ginobili, Stephen Jackson, Gary Neal, Boris Diaw, and Kawhi Leonard (10 points) came in with 2:30 left in the third and instantly went on an 8-0 run to close the quarter as the Spurs outscored the Hornets 24-21 in the quarter.
Fourth quarter: Spurs 88, Hornets 95
Hornets make plays down the stretch – The Spurs got within three points of the Hornets midway through the fourth quarter, but whether it was a Greivis Vazquez (14 points) steal of an inbounds play for a layup, a Davis alley-hoop dunk, or a Gordon step back jumper, the Hornets made the plays they needed to keep separation from the Spurs and finish the quarter.
Comeback shots don’t fall – As good as the Hornets defense was, the Spurs did have opportunities in the fourth and throughout the game to make some open 3-pointers, it’s just that they struggled to shoot on the night as the Spurs only connected on 6-of-21 three pointers and shot 45% overall from the field. Danny Green, who leads the Spurs in 3-pointers made, went 0-of-5 on the night from distance.
“They played pretty good defense,” said Parker after the game, “they were very focused, they closed the paint very well.”
With the loss, the Spurs missed an opportunity to gain some ground in the Western Conference standings on the Oklahoma City Thunder as the Thunder also fell to the Washington Wizards Monday. The Spurs lose their 10th game of the season (27-10) and fall to 13-8 on the road. The Spurs have now lost their last 6-of-8 road games as well.
Injured Lakers to the AT&T Center – Up next for the Spurs is the injured Los Angeles Lakers who will come into San Antonio on Wednesday not expecting their frontcourt of Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill to face the Spurs.