With five seconds remaining and the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Hornets tied at 102 a piece, veteran Tim Duncan put the grand finale on his spectacular performance by driving past Hornets center Emeka Okafor and sinking a one handed fade-away sky-hook to give the Spurs a 104-102 win on Monday evening.
Alongside Duncan’s team-high 28 points and seven rebounds, Tony Parker had a career night as the French point guard passed for 17 assist’s while also adding 20 points. On this night in New Orleans, the Spurs finally found their missing shots on the road.
The Spurs got off to a slow start as the Hornets were able to get a nine point lead early in the first quarter, but the Spurs’ bench came through with a 13-2 run to keep the team close after the first quarter. By halftime, Duncan already had 15 points, and Parker had already chalked up a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists. Yet, the Hornets continued to shoot over 50% in the first half.
Duncan and Parker led the way in the third quarter as Duncan chipped five points in the quarter and Parker added four assists. Richard Jefferson was a spark in the fourth quarter as his shooting woes began to diminish as Jefferson finished with 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the perimeter.
Splitter and Parker’s pick-and-roll offense continued to stay effective as Splitter began dominating the Hornets’ interior as he finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Duncan and Parker took over the game in the last four minutes as they both combined to score the final 12 points for the Spurs, none more important than Duncan’s game winner.
The Spurs end their two-game losing skid and are now 11-7 on the season. More importantly, they’re 2-6 on the road. The team will fly back to San Antonio and prepare for the Atlanta Hawks to visit the AT&T Center on Wednesday.
Analyzing the Win
- The Spurs’ shooting on the road finally looked better as the team shot 55% from the field. In particular, the shooting from behind the arc improved as the team shot 7-of-16 from beyond the arc.
- One area where the Spurs had been struggling on the road was in the turnover department, the team only turned the ball over 10 times in the game, though one of Duncan’s turnovers came in crunch time.
- Danny Green had another solid game with seven points, two steals, and one block. Most important were Green’s five points early in the fourth quarter. Gary Neal’s shooting looked better as well as he scored 10 points off the bench while shooting 2-of-2 from behind the arc.
- James Anderson hadn’t seen any serious playing time in a long time, but he was part of the first unit to hit the floor in the first quarter and he was even put into the game with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, where he got an offensive rebound for two points. In ten minutes, Anderson finished with four points, but the key stat was that he was a contributor on all areas of the floor as he was a +13 in efficiency when on the floor.
Room for Improvement
The defense still has a lot of issues that must be addressed. The team allowed a Hornets team that struggles to score the ball (86 point average), to post 102 points. The Hornets shot 51% from the field and scored over 20 points in all four consecutive quarters.
With no time for a full practice, it’s unknown how long the Spurs will have to wait before they can begin to dissect their mistakes on both sides of the ball.