Wednesday , Mar , 15 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Parker propels Spurs past Hornets

San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Tony Parker notched 20 points and dished
out 11 assists as San Antonio downed New Orleans/Oklahoma City, 96-81, at
the AT&T Center and in the process tied Dallas for the Southwest Division’s
top spot and first in the West overall.

Tim Duncan scored 17 points for the Spurs, who have won two straight. Brent
Barry scored 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting, and Nazr Mohammed had 12 points.
Beno Udrih added 10 points in the victory.

“Tony Parker played an aggressive game and set the tone for us tonight,” San
Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “Brent Barry and Nazr Mohammed were
fantastic. Nazr in the second half of the game and Brent throughout were very,
very good. Its a shame New Orleans has the guys injured that it does. They’re
[the Hornets] a young team and they’ve done a good job.”

Marc Jackson and Chris Paul scored 16 points apiece for the Hornets, who have
lost seven straight. David West and Speedy Claxton both scored 14 points.
Rasual Butler posted nine points and eight rebounds.

The Spurs led 79-65 heading into the fourth, but the Hornets opened the stanza
on a 7-0 run ignited by a Butler dunk with 8:45 left to cut their deficit to

The Spurs responded with a game-ending 17-9 run sparked by a pair of Mohammed
free throws with 6:30 remaining.

“We should have won this,” Jackson said. “We should have won the last few
games. When you get punctured and open a wound, you have to stop the bleeding.
Its tough, but adversity can bring a team together – make a team closer and
show the character of that team. Like a boxer, you have to dig in and keep
coming forward. You can’t get on your heels.”

San Antonio closed the second quarter on a 15-5 run capped by a Barry trey
with three ticks left on the clock to take a 57-44 halftime lead.

The Spurs led 31-26 after the first quarter.

San Antonio shot 33-of-72 (45.8 percent) compared to 33-of-73 (45.2 percent)
by New Orleans/Oklahoma City. The Spurs shot 7-of-21 (33.3 percent) from
beyond the arc, compared to 1-of-6 (16.7 percent) by the Hornets.

San Antonio outrebounded New Orleans/Oklahoma City 39-31.

The Hornets lost their third straight road game, and are just 12-19 away from
home this season.

San Antonio played the third of a four-game homestand. The Spurs are 28-4 at
home this season.

Game Notes

San Antonio has won three straight and seven of the last eight meetings
against the Hornets…This was the fourth and final meeting of the season
between the clubs. In the three previous contests, the teams split a pair of
games at the Ford Center, while the Spurs beat the Hornets, 111-84, on
December 29th at San Antonio…The Hornets have lost four straight at San
Antonio…With the victory, San Antonio posted its fastest 50-win campaign.