NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, December 21st
(All times Eastern)
New Orleans Hornets (5-20) at San Antonio Spurs (19-8), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A promising start to the month has turned sour for a
usually dominant San Antonio Spurs club.
The Spurs began December with five wins in a row but have lost two straight
and four of the previous five contests. They will try to break their funk
versus the moribund New Orleans Hornets Friday night in the opener of a four-
game homestand at the AT&T Center.
San Antonio's losing way continued with a 112-106 setback at Denver on Tuesday
as Tim Duncan recorded 31 points, 18 rebounds and six assists. Manu Ginobili
and Tony Parker scored 16 and 13 points, respectively, in defeat. The Spurs
outscored the Nuggets, 31-22, in the fourth quarter before falling off.
"We didn't give up," said Duncan, who posted five blocks and two steals and
eclipsed the 23,000-point mark. "We were attacking but just didn't make enough
Patty Mills made five 3-pointers for 15 points off the bench and the Spurs
knocked down 14-of-36 from beyond the arc. The Spurs' bench ranks third in the
NBA in scoring (41.5) and first in assists (11.2).
The Spurs, currently third in the NBA with 104.4 ppg, have won four straight
in the Alamo City, are 8-2 as the host and haven't lost at home since Nov. 19
versus the Los Angeles Clippers. They will also host Dallas, Toronto and
Houston on the residency.
Parker has stepped up his play despite his team's struggles and is the only
player in the league averaging at least 18.0 points and 7.0 assists while
shooting over 50.0 percent. In 10 games this month, Parker has averages of
21.0 points and 7.5 assists.
On the injury front for San Antonio, forward Kawhi Leonard is probable for
Friday's game with right knee tendinitis. Leonard hasn't played since Nov. 15
in a 104-100 home loss to the New York Knicks and is averaging 10.6 ppg.
New Orleans hopes to put an end to its nine-game losing streak Friday and will
close out a four-game road trip.
The Hornets' woes continued with Wednesday's 93-77 loss against former
franchise player Chris Paul and the Clippers. Robin Lopez delivered 22 points
and nine rebounds to no avail. Paul had 10 points and 12 assists.
"We came out in the third quarter with more juice, we just weren't able to
sustain it," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "We just didn't make shots
Hornets top draft pick Anthony Davis finished with 16 points and Greivis
Vasquez deposited five points, five rebounds and 10 assists for the Hornets,
who shot 38.7 percent for the game and suffered their fifth straight road
loss. New Orleans is just 2-10 away from the Big Easy.
Ryan Anderson, who leads the team with 18.5 ppg, was held to seven in L.A.
New Orleans, owners of a lowly 2-14 mark in conference action, will return to
the bayou for a showdown with Indiana Saturday night.
The Hornets and Spurs have met once already this season, with the latter
posting a 99-95 win at New Orleans Arena. San Antonio has won five in a row,
12 of 14 and 22 of the last 28 matchups between the teams.
12/21 10:38:51 ET