99 - 110 Final
  for this game

Ginobili, Parker help Spurs notch first win of series

May 9, 2008 - 5:41 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- The San Antonio Spurs put their third-quarter woes behind them just in time to make the Western Conference semifinals a competitive series.

Tony Parker had 31 points and 11 assists and Manu Ginobili also scored 31 to help the Spurs post a 110-99 victory over the New Orleans Hornets in Game Three on Thursday.

Tim Duncan recorded 16 points and 13 rebounds and Bruce Bowen scored 12 in helping the defending champion Spurs earn their first win in the best-of-seven series.

"I thought we played 48 minutes for the first time in this series," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They're not a team you're going to stop. You just try to hang in there and do your work for 48 minutes."

"Today, for us, was a Game Seven, and we came out with more passion and more edge," Ginobili said.

San Antonio can even the conference semifinals at 2-2 with a win at home in Game Four on Sunday.

The Spurs, who had been outscored, 65-35, over the previous two third quarters combined, held a 29-22 edge in this one to help create an 83-78 advantage heading into the fourth.

Then Ginobili took over.

The reigning Sixth Man of the Year scored nine points, including a four-point play, in the first five minutes of the quarter, and Bowen's 3-pointer from the corner gave the Spurs a 101-88 edge with 5:55 left.

"Manu was amazing," Hornets forward Peja Stojakovic said. "He hit some big shots." Chris Paul did his best to keep New Orleans in it with 35 points and nine assists.

"They made a lot more shots," said Paul, who had 18 points in the opening half. "And we didn't defend as well as we did in the first two games."

The Hornets, who coasted late in their two victories, now have their work cut out for them against the defending champions.

"We knew these two games were going to be tough," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "They're the champs. They're not going to lie down. They were more aggressive and more physical, and I thought we lost our composure a little bit."

It appeared early on as if the Hornets picked up where they left off in the previous two meetings, jumping to an 8-0 advantage. Behind Paul's 14-point outburst in the first, the Hornets held a 23-21 lead after the opening quarter.

Parker paced the Spurs with 10 points in the first.

"We know (Parker's) better when he's aggressive and trying to score," Popovich said. "That's the approach he took, and I thought he did it well."

Bowen and Michael Finley hit back-to-back 3-pointers from the corner to give San Antonio a 41-37 lead midway through the second. New Orleans responded with eight straight points before Ginobili's 3-pointer tied the game at 45-45 with 2:11 left in the half.

Ginobili poured in 16 points in the first half, including a last-second jumper that cut the Spurs' deficit to 56-54 at intermission.

"That was really big," Popovich said. "The things you do at the end of quarters and going into the half make a big difference emotionally and psychologically."

Hornets forward David West thinks the Spurs controlled the tempo in the second half.

"They slowed the game down," said West, who had 23 points and 12 rebounds. "We just can't let them dictate how we're going to play. In the first two games, we didn't do that."

The Spurs also were able to defend the perimeter more effectively than in previous games, something that pleased Duncan.

"We made their lives out there a little tougher," Duncan said. "We didn't give them as many looks from that range, and I think that helped us tremendously."