Published November 20, 2014
One night after winning by 41 at Atlanta, the Hornets led by as many as 31 against a Spurs team that has the NBA's best record (37-7), but which has also lost twice to New Orleans (29-16).
Marcus Thornton and Trevor Ariza each hit all four 3-pointers they took as the Hornets set a season high with 12 3s. Thornton finished with 18 points and Ariza 15, while Emeka Okafor had 12 rebounds and five blocks.
Tony Parker's 10 points made him the only double-digit scorer among the Spurs starters, who spent much of the second half on the bench.
The Hornets have their second eight-game winning streak of the season, marking the first time in franchise history they've had two streaks that long in one season.
It is also the NBA's longest active streak. The Spurs entered the game with that distinction, but lost it after scoring their lowest point total of the season en route to their worst loss of the season.
San Antonio, which shot 36.2 percent (25 of 69) against New Orleans, had not been held below 85 points previously this season and had not lost by more than 22.
After a closely contested first half, the Hornets blew the game open by outscoring the Spurs 31-10 in the third quarter. San Antonio's point total for the period was the lowest of any Hornets opponent in any quarter this season.
After Parker's jumper got San Antonio as close as 42-40, the Spurs went the next 7:32 without scoring. The Hornets scored 21 unanswered points during that stretch, including 10 by West on three jumpers, a breakaway dunk set up by Ariza's steal and a tip-in.
Ariza had two 3s during the surge and there were defensive highlights as well, including Okafor's two blocks on Tiago Splitter in one possession that ended with a shot-clock violation and brought the sellout crowd to its feet.
The Spurs had another shot-clock violation on their next possession, after which West had a tip-in to make it 64-42. Chris Paul's soaring floater off the glass made it 66-42 to cap the run, but the Hornets' lead would get even bigger.
New Orleans led 72-48 after three quarters and kept pulling away early in the fourth, when both teams had largely reserve lineups in the floor as Thornton scored 10 points in the period, hitting two of his 3s as a raucous crowd reveled in the both the success of their team and the popular former LSU star.
The Hornets starters also got a rest, but for all the right reasons, for a second straight night. Paul played 30:36, the most of any starter, and finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
Splitter led San Antonio with 11 points.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich spent much of the second half grimacing with his arms folded. Afterward, however, he smiled and hugged his protege, Hornets rookie coach Monty Williams as well as a couple Hornets assistants he'd worked with previously.
Given Popovich's reputation for having strong defensive teams, combined with the fact that Williams is a Popovich disciple whose team gives up the fewest points in the league, this game was bound to be a defensive struggle at times.
The Hornets shot only 21.7 percent (5 of 23) in the opening period, yet managed to finish the quarter with a 13-12 lead. The Spurs shot only 23.5 percent (4 of 17). During one 5-minute stretch, neither team made a field goal.
The game began to open up in the second quarter when Gary Neal made a pair of 3s and Tim Duncan threw down Manu Ginobili's alley-oop lob during a 14-5 spurt that gave the Spurs a 33-28 lead. New Orleans then responded with a 13-3 run, taking a 41-36 lead on back-to-back 3s by Thornton and Marco Belinelli.
Ginobili then hit a 15-foot jumper in transition to pull San Antonio to 41-38 at halftime.
Notes: The teams will not meet again this season. The season series finished tied 2-2. ... Announced attendance was 18,023, meaning a crowd of 11,758 or larger on Monday night will void a clause in the team's arena lease that would allow the club to move after this season.