SAN ANTONIO -- In the weeks leading up to his selection in the first round of the NBA Draft, George Hill remembers watching the San Antonio Spurs win the final two games of the Western Conference semifinals over the New Orleans Hornets.
But the Spurs rookie could do little to keep the Hornets from changing the outcome this time.
Reserve Mike James scored 18 points while Tyson Chandler added 14 on 7-of-9 shooting and New Orleans beat the Spurs 89-84 in a preseason game Friday night.
The Hornets (3-0) are off to their best preseason start since they went 4-0 in Charlotte in 1990.
The Spurs were led by strong efforts in limited playing time from Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. Playing only the first half, Duncan scored 12 points in 18 minutes and Parker added 10 points in 15 minutes. Combined they were 9-for-16 from the field.
New Orleans trailed by two at halftime but it outscored the Spurs (0-2) 12-2 to start the second half and took control of the game.
Chandler scored on three dunks off alley-oop or fast-break passes from Chris Paul during the run. Paul had seven assists to go with 4-of-7 shooting and finished with nine points.
Hill, selected 26th overall by the Spurs, was assigned to guard Paul.
"Chris Paul is just one of the greatest point guards in the league today," Hill said. "He's quick and crafty with it and you have to respect his game, and that's one thing I do. You can't live in the fan world. It's a business now."
The Hornets had the Spurs outmanned to start the second half by playing starters Chandler, David West, Paul, Peja Stojakovic and Mo Peterson against a Spurs lineup with rookies Darryl Watkins, Hill and Malik Hairston along with veteran reserves Matt Bonner and Roger Mason.
That lineup remained on the court until James Posey came in for West with New Orleans leading 65-60 with 1:03 left in the third quarter.
But even the Hornets reserves managed to brush off the Spurs. New Orleans led 77-64 when Devin Brown came off the bench and hit a 3-pointer with 7:13 left in the game.
But James was the highlight of the Hornets' bench with 6-for-11 shooting. He was 3 of 4 from 3-point territory.
"I thought in the first half we had trouble getting into our steps and rhythm," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "But when the second half rolled around we seemed more aggressive. This team has a lot of confidence built up from last year."
Desmon Farmer added 11 points for San Antonio.
The Spurs have started the preseason by giving veterans the night off on alternating nights. C Fabricio Oberto got to wear street clothes Friday after playing 20 minutes Thursday in Houston. ... Bonner, who started three games last season, started in place of Oberto. ... Brown, the former Spur who played in high school and college in San Antonio, returned to his hometown wearing his third visiting jersey in the past four seasons -- Utah and Cleveland were the others.