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New Orleans at San Antonio

Paul, Hornets upend Spurs, remain unbeaten

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN ANTONIO -- Tony Parker began the day by signing a $50 million contract extension. He ended it on the bench in the fourth quarter, watching Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets remain unbeaten.

Paul scored 25 points and New Orleans emerged as the only undefeated team in the Southwest Division, beating the San Antonio Spurs 99-90 on Saturday night for a 3-0 start under first-year coach Monty Williams.

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Any pressure to keep this up?

"You don't have to tell me. I'm too young for all this stuff," said Williams, pointing to his goatee. "This thing will be white by the time the season is over with."

Williams beat his former coach and mentor, Gregg Popovich, who benched Parker and Tim Duncan after a miserable third quarter that ended with the Spurs trailing 76-60 after being down just one point at halftime.

The bench is probably not where Parker imagined he would be after agreeing to a four-year extension hours earlier.

But instead of Parker and Paul facing off in the fourth quarter in a matchup of three-time All-Stars, Parker sat while Paul blew past George Hill on a crossover dribble and hit a tough running bank shot to seal the victory with 49.7 seconds left.

"Man, you have no clue how good it feels to play basketball again," said Paul, who missed 37 games last season after surgery on his right knee. "Last year sitting on the sidelines, you hear all this different stuff, and you just want to compete. This is what I do."

Parker finished with 13 points and missed five of his last six shots. He did not speak to reporters after the game.

Paul, saying he knows how Popovich works, wasn't surprised by Parker and Duncan sitting in the fourth in favor of an energized second-unit that eventually cut the deficit to three. That included Gary Neal, a rookie who logged only one minute in San Antonio's opener but played the entire fourth period against the Hornets.

Manu Ginobili, who led the Spurs with 23 points, has been with Popovich long enough to know he'll stick with the group that works.

"What made it tough," Ginobili said, "was that it was both Tim and Tony out."

Duncan finished with seven points on 2-of-10 shooting.

"If a group is rolling, Pop is going to keep with that group until the car stops," said Hill, who shot 2 for 7 and finished with six points.

The Hornets are off to their fourth 3-0 start in the last five years, this time after a summer spent picking up two products of the Spurs' system to make New Orleans competitive again. Williams played and coached as an assistant under Popovich, and new general manager Dell Demps was plucked from the Spurs' front office.

The way New Orleans shut down San Antonio defensively in the third quarter, it looked as though the Hornets took Popovich's most valued fundamental with them. After leading for nearly the entire first half, the Spurs shot 6 of 24 in the third.

David West had 18 points and Marcus Thornton added 17 off the bench for the Hornets.

It was the first 20-point game of the season for Paul, who was 8 of 15 from the floor. He also had five assists.

Richard Jefferson scored 18 points for the Spurs, including 10 in the fourth.

The Hornets beat the Spurs for the first time in five tries, including getting swept by San Antonio last season.

"Am I surprised? No, I'm not surprised," Paul said of the Hornets' unbeaten start. "I like it, but I'm not surprised."

Notes

  • Williams said he's still not set on the Hornets' rotation despite their strong start, saying New Orleans still needs rookie Quincy Pondexter in the mix.
  • Spurs F Matt Bonner is expected to be out through at least next week with a right ankle sprain.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Chris Paul isn't afraid to drive on Tim Duncan during the second half, and winds up outscoring him 25 to 7.  (US Presswire)
Chris Paul isn't afraid to drive on Tim Duncan during the second half, and winds up outscoring him 25 to 7. (US Presswire)
Scoreboard
New Orleans 3-0 «1726332399
San Antonio 1-12418183090
NO:C. Paul 25 Pts
NO:C. Paul 7 Reb
NO:C. Paul 5 Ast
SA:M. Ginobili 23 Pts
SA:D. Blair 11 Reb
SA:G. Hill 7 Ast
Players of the Game
San AntonioNew Orleans

M. Ginobili

C. Paul
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
23262575

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New Orleans
T. Ariza, SG312-53-44019
C. Paul, PG318-157-775125
D. West, PF269-170-033318
M. Belinelli, SG231-40-02203
E. Okafor, C193-53-44139
M. Thornton, SG308-140-073117
W. Green, SG235-101-142112
J. Smith, PF213-50-03236
D. Mbenga, C150-10-02020
J. Bayless, PG110-20-11220
P. Mensah-Bonsu, PF100-00-03010
P. Stojakovic, SFDid Not Play
A. Gray, CDid Not Play
J. Alexander, SFDid Not Play
Q. Pondexter, SFDid Not Play
Totals 39-7814-1740201899
 50.0%82.4% 
San Antonio
D. Blair, PF382-100-011044
M. Ginobili, SG378-195-526123
R. Jefferson, SF337-113-543218
T. Duncan, PF272-103-47147
T. Parker, PG275-103-344213
G. Hill, PG272-72-22726
A. McDyess, PF213-80-08026
G. Neal, PG193-60-02228
J. Anderson, SG111-42-21105
B. Simmons, SFDid Not Play
M. Bonner, PFDid Not Play
T. Splitter, PFDid Not Play
G. Temple, SGDid Not Play
A. Gee, SGDid Not Play
Totals 33-8518-2141241990
 38.8%85.7% 
Other Games
Wash 95 Final
Atl 99
Sac 107 Final
Cle 104
Port 100 Final
NY 95
Det 91 Final
Chi 101
Phi 86 Final
Ind 99
Min 89 Final
Mem 109
Den 107 Final
Hou 94
Char 88 Final
Mil 98