Spurs survive late rally from Hornets

Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Manu Ginobili scored 27 points, including two key baskets that stopped a late Charlotte rally, and the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Charlotte Hornets 98-93 on Wednesday.

After a pair of Kemba Walker free throws brought Charlotte within a point late in the fourth quarter, Ginobili's bank shot and 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions restored San Antonio's comfortable lead as the Spurs won for the third time in four games.

"Back-to-backs are always very satisfying wins," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "We've had an opportunity to win some other games, and we've blown them. Tonight, we came through."

San Antonio got 18 points from Danny Green and Tim Duncan chipped in 14 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.

Despite 28 points from Walker, Charlotte saw its five-game winning streak come to an end. Bismack Biyombo recorded his second-straight double-double with 12 points, 15 boards and five blocks. Gerald Henderson and P.J. Hairston each added 11 points.

"Against a team like that, you can't have a stretch of five minutes with no defense," said Hornets coach Steve Clifford. "You're not going to win."

Green's triple a minute into the final period extended San Antonio's edge to 81-70, but a 15-5 Charlotte run put that lead in jeopardy. Lance Stephenson scored five points, and Hairston hit a pair of 3s before Walker's free throws trimmed the Hornets' deficit to one.

While Ginobili responded to extend San Antonio's lead again, Charlotte went cold to end its chance of a comeback. They went nearly three minutes before Biyombo hit a free throw to snap the Hornets' scoring drought, and they went nearly five minutes between shots from the field.

Walker's layup with 15 seconds left ended that drought and 11 seconds later, he hit a 3-pointer to again inch closer to the Spurs. However, each time San Antonio responded with a pair of free throws to hold off the Hornets.

The Hornets jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but San Antonio responded with a 17-4 run to go up 17-11 with three minutes to go in the first quarter.

San Antonio led 22-18 after one quarter when Stephenson's jumper with 32 seconds left cut into the Spurs' lead. Stephenson missed the previous 14 games with a pelvic strain.

In the second quarter, San Antonio used great ball movement and shooting to increase its lead. Matt Bonner and Green each hit a pair of 3s as the Spurs went 5-of-6 from long distance during the quarter to take a 57-45 lead into the break on Ginobili's buzzer-beating triple.

The Hornets limited San Antonio to 26.9 percent shooting in the third quarter, while hitting 9-of-15 shots themselves. Charlotte cut its deficit down to six points twice, but the Spurs did just enough to maintain their steady edge. Walker's bucket with 22 seconds to go trimmed San Antonio's lead to 76-68 at the end of the third.

Game Notes

San Antonio has won eight straight against Charlotte ... Walker scored 25-or- more points for the sixth straight game ... With the win, Duncan and Tony Parker tied Robert Parish and Kevin McHale for second place in wins achieved as teammates with 656, all with the Spurs ... The season series will conclude on Jan. 28 in San Antonio.