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Hornets Drilled By Spurs

After their sizzling start, the Hornets have now lost three of their last four. In the first half, New Orleans could do no wrong, shooting 61% from the field, while playing fantastic defense. The second half was a different story, as San Antonio shot above 65%, couldn’t miss, and overcame a 17 point deficit, to beat the Hornets 109-95.

Tim Duncan scored 21 points and Richard Jefferson added 19 for the Spurs, who matched a franchise best 7-0 start on the road, set in the 2006-07 season.

David West scored 23 points for the Hornets, who were outscored 65-34 in the second half while losing for the first time in eight home games.

Chris Paul added 15 points, while Emeka Okafor and Marco Belinelli each had 12 for New Orleans.

George Hill scored 14 points for the Spurs, who continued their best start (14-2) in franchise history and increased their Southwest Division lead to two games over New Orleans and Dallas.

The Spurs entered the fourth quarter still trailing 77-72, but hit their first nine shots of the period to surge into the lead for good.

Jefferson started the surge with a driving floater along the baseline. Then Gary Neal completed the comeback with a 3 to tie it at 77 and Antonio McDyess added a jumper to give the Spurs their first lead since they were up 14-13 in the middle of the first quarter.

After West tied it at 79, Jefferson and Ginobili hit back-to-back 3s and the Spurs started to pull away, taking their first double-digit lead when Hill drained an off balance jumper as he was fouled and hit the free throw to make it 94-84 with 6:58 to go.

San Antonio trailed by 17 at halftime, and after a brief surge, went down again by 17 when Belinelli’s 3 made it 68-51 with 9:27 left in the third quarter.

The Spurs responded with a 10-0 run capped by Jefferson’s 3 to make it 68-61.

The Hornets, meanwhile, were coming apart on both ends of the floor. After turning the ball over only three times in the first half, the Hornets committed six turnovers and were only 5 of 15 shooting in the third quarter, when they were outscored 28-16.

It left a stunned crowd to wonder what happened to the team that so thoroughly dominate the first half.

With his typical mix of mid-range jumpers and strong moves to the basket, West had 16 first quarter points, which helped the Hornets take a 34-26 lead.

Shooting 61 percent in the first half, New Orleans led by double digits for nearly then entire second quarter. San Antonio, meanwhile, shot only 6 of 19 in the second period, including 1 of 8 from 3-point range.

http://espn.go.com/nba/recap?id=301128003

New Orleans will try to avoid losing four of five as they travel to take on a hot Oklahoma City Thunder team tomorrow night on the road. Tip-off is set for 7:00.

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