Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 10/30

Game 1: Saturday, October 30th
Game 2: Sunday, November 28th
Game 3: Sunday, December 5th
Game 4: Saturday, January 22nd

Hornets 99

(3-0, 1-0 away)

Spurs 90

(1-1, 1-1 home)

    Coverage: KRRT

    8:30 PM ET, October 30, 2010

    AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 17 26 33 2399
    SA 24 18 18 3090

    Top Performers

    NO: C. Paul 25 Pts, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    SA: M. Ginobili 23 Pts, 2 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

    Chris Paul scores 25 to help Hornets to 3-0 start 

    Associated Press

    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 Saturday night for a 3-0 start under first-year coach Monty Williams.

    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 win 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 just 1 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 of 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."

    Game 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 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 99 90
    FGM-FGA 39-78 (.500) 33-85 (.388)
    3PM-3PA 7-11 (.636) 6-26 (.231)
    FTM-FTA 14-17 (.824) 18-21 (.857)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 3-40 11-41
    Assists 20 24
    Turnovers 16 14
    Steals 7 7
    Blocks 5 6
    Fast Break Points 23 23
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (4/0) 19 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 18 9

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    San Antonio
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 25
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Manu Ginobili Ginobili
    Points: 23
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0

    Research Notes

    Blake Griffin finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds. He is the first rookie with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in his team's season-opener since Lamar Odom had 30 points and 12 rebounds in his debut with the Clippers in 1999.

    ESPN Stats & Information