Spurs brush off Hornets, 103-77

Bobcats top Magic, end four-game slide

Pro Basketball

Nba

December 15, 2006

Manu Ginobili scored 24 points and Tony Parker added 19, leading the visiting San Antonio Spurs to a 103-77 victory over the undermanned New Orleans Hornets last night.

Tim Duncan had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs, who never trailed.

The Hornets dressed only 10 players and were no match for the Southwest Division-leading Spurs, who led 75-55 in the third quarter after Brent Barry's driving floater that went in off the glass as he was fouled.

Ginobili continued his strong return from a lower back contusion in late November that caused him to miss four games.

"He's playing better than he did last season," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's playing like he did the year before. He feels healthy, he's got his bounce back - shooting the ball, driving, making decisions. He's doing a real good job."

The New Orleans crowd had little to cheer about in the second half, other than when the scoreboard video screen showed Saints running back Deuce McAllister in the audience. That drew howls of "Deuce" and a standing ovation.

Bobcats 99, Magic 89 -- Sean May scored a career-high 32 points to help host Charlotte break a four-game skid. Rookie Adam Morrison added 22 points for the Bobcats, his best outing on Charlotte's home court since scoring 27 against Miami on Nov. 25. Emeka Okafor had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Raymond Felton and Gerald Wallace scored 12 points apiece for the Bobcats, who posted their first double-digit win of the season.

Warriors 109, Rockets 107 -- Baron Davis hit a long three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left that enabled host Golden State to end a three-game losing streak against Houston. Yao Ming matched his season high with 38 points and grabbed a season-best 18 rebounds, but missed his final two shots in the closing seconds. After one of those misses, Golden State got a final chance, and Davis capitalized for the Warriors' third straight win at home.

Off the court

All-Star voting -- Allen Iverson is on pace to start in the NBA All-Star Game for the Eastern Conference - if he's still playing in it. Iverson, waiting to be traded by the Philadelphia 76ers, was the leader among East guards with 595,200 votes when the first set of returns was released. Iverson and NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade of Miami had the top spots in the East backcourt. But if the 76ers deal Iverson out of the conference, he will have some room to make up. His total would be third among West guards, behind Kobe Bryant (720,375) and Tracy McGrady (668,130). Iverson is a two-time MVP of the All-Star game. Rockets center Yao Ming was the overall leader with 836,392 votes. LeBron James was the East's leader with 808,570 votes.

Hornets -- Owner George Shinn is leaning toward playing a full home schedule in New Orleans, backing away from the idea of asking the NBA's permission to play some home games in Oklahoma City next season. "Probably the best thing to do is give it a 100 percent chance here, and if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. And if it works, God bless us," Shinn said.

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