The game started poorly for the Hornets as the Spurs jumped out to an 11-3 run to start the game. Hot shooting from Jeremy Lamb and Kemba Walker sparked a 25-7 run from the Hornets in response. The back court duo combined for 22 of the Hornets 28 first quarter points. The Spurs scored 24.
The Hornets grew their lead to as large as ten points midway through the second quarter. The scoring didn’t come as fast and furiously as it did when Lamb and Walker were feeling it in the first quarter, but it was offset by the best defense we’ve seen on this road trip. The Hornets frequently got into passing lanes and deflected Spurs passes. The Spurs scored only 19 points in the quarter as part of a 43 point half in which they shot only 40% from the field. At the half, the Hornets held a six point lead.
Bismack Biyombo scored the first four points of the second half to give the Hornets some cushion, and it was needed. The Spurs went on a stretch where they scored on 11 of 12 possessions, but the Hornets were able to score enough on the other end to mitigate the Spurs offensive output. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 12 points in the quarter and got the Spurs within the lead with a late dunk, but the Hornets rallied and built back a four point lead thanks to a Marvin Williams 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Tony Parker and his former protege Patty Mills went back and forth to start the final period. Then Biyombo took center stage. He scored five points and pulled in two offensive rebounds, both of which led to three point possessions for the Hornets. He also played stifling defense on Aldridge, and it allowed the Hornets to slowly pull away as the game wound down. After a Spurs turnover, the Hornets bench pushed Tony Parker to the scorer’s table so he could check into the game and dribble out the clock in front of the fans that cheered for him for the last 17 years.
It was a complete game from the Hornets on both sides of the ball and was a reminder of what this team can be when it’s clicking. Up next is a visit from the Kings in the friendly confines of the Spectrum Center.