Spurs at Hornets
The New Orleans Hornets put a scare into the San Antonio Spurs in their previous meeting Dec. 21. Armed with home-court advantage this time around, the Hornets look to gain a measure of revenge as they entertain the red-hot Spurs on Monday night. New Orleans has shown glimpses of progress since that 99-94 loss to the Spurs, going a respectable 3-4 in its last seven - including an impressive 99-95 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks last time out.
The Spurs have been one of the toughest teams to contain all season, and that has been particularly true of late. San Antonio comes in having won eight of nine, and is averaging 108 points in its last 10 outings. The trio of Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan combined for 55 points in a one-sided win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday and continues to defy age in leading San Antonio to the upper tier of the Western Conference standings.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Southwest (San Antonio), Fox Sports New Orleans
ABOUT THE SPURS (27-9): Ginobili isn't as athletic as he once was, but he showed flashes of his old self en route to a 19-point, seven-rebound contribution against Philadelphia. The highlight: Ginobili's first dunk of the season, prompting 76ers guard Evan Turner to label him a "living legend." Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich praised Ginobili for keeping himself in optimum shape despite being an NBA old-timer at 35. "His confidence is always there, because he’s such an experienced guy," Popovich said. “But his body’s caught up, and he looks as good as he’s looked in a while."
ABOUT THE HORNETS (8-25): Wins have been hard to come by in the Big Easy, but optimism abounds. Between the returning Eric Gordon, the developing Anthony Davis and the 3-point exploits of Ryan Anderson, the Hornets have a strong foundation on which to build. Yet, the player having the biggest positive impact during New Orleans' recent solid stretch is point guard Greivis Vasquez. The 25-year-old Maryland product has exploded onto the scene in his third NBA season, averaging career highs in points (14), assists (nine) and rebounds (4.5). Vasquez has seven double-digit assist efforts in his past 12 games.
1. Duncan, who turns 37 in April, is tied for fifth in the NBA with 17 double-doubles.
2. San Antonio has won both meetings this season and five straight overall.
3. The Hornets waived reserve F Dominic McGuire on Friday, less than three weeks after signing him as a free agent.
PREDICTION: Spurs 108, Hornets 91.