Spurs use stingy defense to down Hornets

AFP
The Spurs defense held the cold-shooting Hornets to just 29 first-half points and 22.2 percent shooting from the floor.
AFP
Reuters

San Antonio Spurs forward center LaMarcus Aldridge looks to shoot against Charlotte Hornets guard forward Nicolas Batum (left) and forward center Dwight Howard during the second half of their NBA game at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on November 25, 2017. The Spurs won 106-86.

Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 34 points as the San Antonio Spurs completed a two-game season sweep of the Charlotte Hornets with a 106-86 win on Saturday.

San Antonio, which improved to 12-7 on the season, led by 11 points at halftime and stretched the lead to as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter at the Spectrum Center arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Spurs defense held the cold-shooting Hornets to just 29 first-half points and 22.2 percent shooting from the floor.

The Spurs also got 15 points from Rudy Gay, 14 from Kyle Anderson, 11 from Manu Ginobili and 10 from Patty Mills.

The Hornets dropped to 8-11 on the season and have now lost eight of their last 11 games.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich felt his team caught a scheduling break playing Charlotte on Saturday, one night after the Hornets played on the road at Cleveland.

"That was a very difficult trip for the Hornets," Popovich said. "It's like, basically unfair. Coming back after being in Cleveland, getting back that late and then having to play a seven o'clock game, that's a very difficult turnaround. All of us hate that particular deal. We all have to go through it, but we caught a break tonight."

Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 18 points despite missing about five minutes in the third quarter with a bruised left shoulder.

The Hornets also got 12 points each from Frank Kaminsky and Jeremy Lamb, and 10 points and 11 rebounds from Dwight Howard.

In Indianapolis, Kyrie Irving scored 25 points and Al Horford added 21 to lead Boston over Indiana 108-98.

Boston (18-3) outscored Indiana 37-16 in the third quarter to turn a 9-point deficit into an 82-70 lead entering the final quarter. Horford had 12 points during a period that saw Indiana record two three-minute scoring droughts.

The Pacers (11-9) were led by Myles Turner, who had 19 points but spent much of the night in foul trouble. Lance Stephenson had 16 points and 8 rebounds, and Damontas Sabonis had 17 points and 8 boards.

Victor Oladipo, leading Indiana with 22.9 points per game, did not play for the first time this season. He sat with a bruised right knee sustained in Friday's 107-104 win over Toronto.

Elsewhere in the National Basketball Association, it was: Warriors 110, Pelicans 95; Mavericks 97, Thunder 81; 76ers 130, Magic 111; Trail Blazers 108, Wizards 105; Rockets 117, Knicks 102; Raptors 112, Hawks 78; Jazz 121, Bucks 108; and Clippers 97, Kings 95.


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