Spurs-Hornets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 24, 2012
The San Antonio Spurs had little trouble in their last game despite playing without Tony Parker. A team effort helped in previous matchups against their next opponent as well. Parker is uncertain for Saturday night's game in New Orleans as the Spurs go for their third win in as many tries against the Hornets this season. San Antonio continues to battle injuries, but it has won five of six, including its last two. The Spurs (31-14) got a measure of revenge for their only loss during that six-game span with a 104-87 victory over Dallas on Friday. Parker sat out with tightness in his left hamstring and backup center Tiago Splitter missed the game with mid-back spasms, but six Spurs players scored in double figures, including two reserves. "It was a team victory," Manu Ginobili said. "We didn't have Tony. Tony has been leading us the last 40 games. He's been amazing, scoring 30 points in a lot of games, dishing 10 assists, and we didn't have him today. ... It was a great team victory." Ginobili, starting in place of Parker, finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while Danny Green had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists. Stephen Jackson added 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench. The Spurs also received a lift from newly signed forward Boris Diaw, who played 16 minutes and was effective at limiting Dirk Nowitzki. San Antonio outscored Dallas 50-16 in the paint and had a 54-34 rebounding advantage. "I thought the overall team defense was pretty good," coach Gregg Popovich said. "That was probably the best part of the game. (Diaw) did a fine job (on defense). No matter who was out there, we were pretty aggressive." The Spurs may need another team effort if Parker is out again Saturday, although San Antonio has two wins against lowly New Orleans this season despite the absence of Ginobili. If Parker needs extended time off, Ginobili's health becomes even more critical. After missing 27 of the team's first 36 games, he's played in eight of San Antonio's last nine, averaging 12.3 points and 6.0 assists in that stretch. The conference-worst Hornets (12-35) will try for rare back-to-back wins after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 97-90 on Thursday. New Orleans, which completes a three-game homestand Saturday, had lost five in a row at home, but shot 57.6 percent in the victory. One night after recording a triple-double in a loss to Golden State, Jarrett Jack had 17 points and nine assists against the Clippers while Chris Kaman had a team-high 20 points and 10 rebounds to hurt his former club. "We just have to keep moving forward," Kaman said. "We've got guys coming back off of injury. ... I'm just excited to play another game. I'm happy to be able to play out here." Carl Landry, who hasn't played since Feb. 4 because of a left knee injury, is expected back soon, but Jason Smith, who recently returned from a concussion, will miss the next two games after being suspended by the league for a hard foul against the Clippers' Blake Griffin. Smith had 17 points and eight rebounds Thursday before being ejected for the flagrant 2 foul, which knocked Griffin to the floor. New Orleans has lost nine of 11 against the Spurs. Tim Duncan has averaged 23.5 points on 17-of-27 shooting in San Antonio's two victories this season.
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