Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/31/12
NEW ORLEANS – Tim Duncan scored 24 points, including nine of his team's final 12 points, and Tony Parker hit a dagger three-pointer with 49 seconds left to power the San Antonio Spurs to a 99-95 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night, spoiling the NBA debut of No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis. Duncan, who like Davis hopes to be was once the lottery pick who changed the course of the San Antonio franchise, also grabbed 11 rebounds as the Spurs overcame Davis' 21-point, seven-rebound effort. Parker had 23 points for the Spurs, and Kawhi Leonard added 19. The Spurs erased a seven-point halftime deficit with a 21-5 run in the first 7:05 of the third quarter, hitting 7-of-11 shots while holding the Hornets to 1-of-10 shooting and four turnovers. But the Hornets closed the quarter with a 16-7 run of their own to tie the game, 71-71. The teams traded three-pointers, with Roger Mason putting the Hornets up 83-80 and Kawhi Leonard answering from the left baseline the next time down the court. The Hornets' defense reasserted itself in the final four minutes. After Al-Farouq Aminu hit a layup to tie the game, 87-87, blocked a Tony Parker drive to the basket and then wound up with a dunk on the other end, giving New Orleans an 89-87 lead with 3:09 left. Then Duncan went to work, scoring seven consecutive points -- three inside baskets and a free throw -- to put the Spurs up 94-93 with 1:19 left. Davis answered with two free throws after a hard foul, but that set up Parker for his decisive three-pointer. Davis opened his NBA career with a flourish, scoring nine first-quarter points and grabbing four rebounds as the Hornets took a 31-28 lead. Davis' first professional bucket was a 12-footer from the left baseline, which he followed up on the Hornets' next possession with a 15-footer from the right wing. In taking a 50-43 halftime lead, the Hornets moved the ball crisply, getting 17 assists on 21 made baskets, including 10 assists by Greivis Vasquez. Davis also helped the Hornets to a 24-18 edge on the boards. Parker kept the Spurs at close range, scoring 15 first-half points, most coming on quick drives to the basket around Vasquez. The Hornets did a good defensive job on everyone else, holding the Spurs to 27 percent shooting (6-of-22) in a 15-point second quarter. NOTES: The lingering right knee injury that sidelined Hornets' shooting guard Eric Gordon for all but nine games last season got even more mysterious before the game when Coach Monty Williams said Gordon would be out “indefinitely.” Gordon, who sat out the entire preseason until practicing the previous three days, was told not to speak to reporters. “The way I understand it, he's going to be out indefinitely until we get some more clarity on what's going on.” Williams added: “I'm not a doctor. All I can do is go off the information I'm given, and I have to listen to the player.” Asked if he has had a “heart-to-heart” with Gordon about his pain level, Williams said: “You don't do that as a coach. The last thing you want your player to think of you is that you're trying to put him in harm's way.” ... The Spurs played without All-Star Manu Ginobili (back spasms). ... Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who coached Williams and later added him to his coaching staff, said he recognized the Hornets' average age of 23 years old is a coaching challenge for Williams. “It takes time,” Popovich said.
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