NBA Game Summary - San Antonio at New Orleans/Oklahoma City
(Sunday, December 18th)
Final Score: New Orleans/Oklahoma City 89, San Antonio 76
Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - Speedy Claxton scored five of his 14 points during a crucial run in the fourth quarter, as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets beat the San Antonio Spurs, 89-76, at the Ford Center.
David West scored 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while rookie Chris Paul narrowly missed his first triple-double with 17 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Desmond Mason added 15 points and Rasual Butler scored 13 for the Hornets, winners in three of their last four games.
"I was extremely excited," Paul said. "We knew were playing the defending champs, a very great team. I couldn't ask for any more from my teammates."
Michael Finley and Tony Parker each scored 17 points, but it was an off night for Tim Duncan, as the San Antonio forward ended with 11 points and eight rebounds on just 4-of-12 shooting.
"They're a different ball club than they were a year ago," Duncan said of the Hornets. "Speed and CP on the court give them a different look. They are very confident with the ball, and David West also had a great game tonight."
The Spurs had their three-game winning streak broken and lost for just the fifth time this season. However, the last two defeats have been on the road against losing clubs. On December 10, the Spurs lost 94-84 at Atlanta, a team that had only two victories until that point.
The Hornets are just 11-13 this season, but head coach Byron Scott has watched his team beat clubs with winning records in the last week, with upset wins over Phoenix and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sunday night, it was Claxton who catapulted the Hornets. A free throw by San Antonio's Nick Van Exel tied the game at 69 with 8:52 remaining, but P.J. Brown responded with a jumper to start a string of 10 consecutive points by the Hornets. Claxton followed with a jumper and a three-point play, and Paul's three-point play made the score 79-69 with 5:02 left.
The Spurs scored the next five points, but three straight jumpers from West stopped San Antonio's comeback attempt.
The Hornets led 21-19 after one quarter, but the game was tied at 37 at the half. San Antonio was in front, 62-60 going into the fourth.
Brown was involved in an altercation with Finley late in the second quarter. Brown bumped chests with Finley and was called for a flagrant foul.
West was 9-of-13 from the floor...The Hornets snapped a four-game skid versus San Antonio...The Spurs had won five straight road games against the Hornets.
12/18 22:32:42 ET