Spurs rout Hornets again, tie series at 2-2May 12, 2008 - 3:54 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- There's a reason why the San Antonio Spurs have four titles in nine seasons.
Tim Duncan's 22 points and 15 rebounds carried the Spurs to a 100-80 rout of the New Orleans Hornets in Game Four of their Western Conference semifinals series on Sunday.
An impressive 21-6 surge to start the second quarter opened things up for good for San Antonio, which evened the series at 2-2 heading into a pivotal Game Five in the "Big Easy" on Tuesday.
"I don't think we even tried," said Hornets forward David West, who struggled to score just 10 points. "I don't know what needs to be done, but we didn't have the focus and intensity needed to win."
Tony Parker had 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Spurs, who will try to become just the second team this postseason to record a road win in the conference semifinals.
"We were lucky enough to come back here and right our ship a little bit. We feel good going back to New Orleans," said Duncan, who had four blocks.
The Spurs outscored the Hornets, 61-39, in the second and third quarters. The defending champions led by as many as 27 points at one stage and were never challenged in the second half.
"I thought, defensively, we were better than we have been this entire series, and I thought that was the difference in the game," Duncan said.
With the Hornets doubling Duncan on every possession, he has not put up gaudy offensive numbers this series, but his teammates still think he's the catalyst.
"They're not letting him do too much with the basketball, but he's been a great quarterback for us," said Spurs forward Robert Horry, who tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA-best mark of 237 playoffs games played.
With his club trailing, 85-61, at the start the fourth quarter, Hornets coach Byron Scott decided to bench all five starters.
"Our intensity was terrible," Scott said. "They are kicking our butts right now. ... We have to get that level of intensity back, and we have to compete. I don't think we did that. They were running harder than us on both ends of the floor, and that's not a good sign."
Hornets guard Chris Paul agreed with the assessment.
"He's exactly right. We got beat in all aspects of the game," Paul said. "I really can't explain this one. We looked pretty bad, but we have to bounce back. Now, it's a three-game series. The first team to win two games wins it, so no time to panic."
With the white flag officially raised, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich quickly pulled Duncan, who joined Parker on the bench for the rest of the game.
Paul carried the load with 23 points for the Hornets, who had just two starters score in double figures.
New Orleans' best quarter was the first as Paul scored eight points en route to a 24-22 deficit heading into the second before the Spurs got hot.
Manu Ginobili and Ime Udoka hit back-to-back 3-pointers which ignited the Spurs to their pivotal burst in which they connected on 9-of-11 shots from the field.
After Parker sank an 18-footer with 5:27 left in the first half, San Antonio built a 45-28 lead, leaving the Hornets with no answers. The Spurs scored 16 of their 31 second-quarter points in the paint.
"We didn't want to give them any hope," Parker said. "Now, we did our job. We won two games. Game Five's going to be huge. They'll be at home, where they'll play better, shoot a little better, and we have to be ready for that."
After the Spurs intentionally fouled Tyson Chandler, who hit both free throws, Duncan converted on a strong three-point play over West, who struggled much of the night. But Paul raced down court for a layup to make it a 13-point deficit at the break.
NEW ORLEANS 80
SAN ANTONIO 100 FINAL
May 11 10:36 PM
NEW ORLEANS 61
SAN ANTONIO 85 END, 3RD QTR
May 11 10:08 PM
NEW ORLEANS 42
SAN ANTONIO 55 HALFTIME
May 11 9:19 PM
NEW ORLEANS 22
SAN ANTONIO 24 END, 1ST QTR
May 11 8:42 PM
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