SAN ANTONIO - Tim Duncan had 22 points and 15 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the New Orleans Hornets 100-80 on Sunday night in Game 4 to even the Western Conference semifinals at 2-2.
San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, top, scores over New Orleans Hornets center Tyson Chandler during the second half in Game 3 in an NBA Western Conference semifinal basketball series Thursday, May 8, 2008, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 110-99.
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Tony Parker added 21 points for the Spurs, who are assured of a Game 6 back in San Antonio. Chris Paul scored 23 for the Hornets. Game 5 is Tuesday in New Orleans.
The Spurs led by as many as 27 and were ahead nearly the entire game. They shot 51 percent (39-of-76), while the Hornets were cold when it counted. They shot 37 percent through three quarters and finished 33-of-82 (40 percent) from the field.
The Spurs scored 40 points in the paint. New Orleans' plan to keep Parker out of the lane didn't work, as he knifed his way through heavy traffic or found openings to get to the rim, and hit jumpers.
Manu Ginobili, who also got to the rim at will in Game 3, wasn't as successful in Game 4. But he hit jumpers and two 3-pointers, finishing with 15 points. Duncan also had four blocks.
The Spurs outrebounded the Hornets 45-36 and outscored them 30-19 in the decisive third quarter.
The Hornets' David West had three blocks but was held to 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting and was visibly frustrated. Reserve Jannero Pargo scored 11 for the Hornets.
The Hornets were hoping to return to New Orleans with a commanding 3-1 series lead, but allowed Duncan and Parker to shoot a combined 18-of-25 from the field. The only area where the duo struggled was its free-throw shooting. Duncan was 2-of-5 and Parker 5-of-8.
The Spurs were ahead for all but 3:24 in the first half, taking the lead for good after Parker's layup with 8:36 to play in the first quarter broke a 4-all tie.
San Antonio shot 57.5 percent in the first half, led by Parker and Duncan, who each hit 7-of-10 from the field. Parker had no problem getting to the rim early to lead the Spurs with 18 points at the break.
He had two layups as part of a 13-2 Spurs run, and his jumper capped the burst with 5:27 left in the second quarter to put the Spurs up 45-28.
Duncan, who had flu-like symptoms and ran a fever earlier in the series but said he felt good the day before Game 4, was as effective as he's been against the Hornets this series. He had 15 points and three blocks at the half.
His spin move on Tyson Chandler for an easy layup put San Antonio up 47-33 with four minutes left in the half.
Paul had 14 points at halftime, but the Hornets were down 55-42 at the break. West was struggling as he was harassed by the Spurs but also missed a couple of open shots, including an airball to start the second quarter.
In the third quarter, when the Hornets were so dominant in the first two games, the Spurs kept up their hot shooting and New Orleans got worse.
Chandler had to sit with 8:39 to play after picking up his fourth and fifth fouls in quick succession. He finished with just two points — a pair of free throws — and four rebounds.
Ginobili's floating jumper with 7:19 left and ensuing foul shot put the Spurs up 69-48, and the Spurs would finish the quarter with a 7-0 run and their biggest lead of the night to that point, 85-61.
Hornets coach Byron Scott emptied his bench to start the fourth. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich soon did the same.
Notes:@ Paul's mother and Hornets F Julian Wright's mother were in attendance ... The Hornets switched to their teal uniforms on Sunday from the gold they wore in Game 3. ... Parker's wife, Eva Longoria Parker, was at the game. She missed her own TV show, ABC's "Desperate Housewives," which was on during the game. ... Actor Tommy Lee Jones and country singer George Strait also were in the crowd. ... Spurs F Robert Horry played in his 237th playoff game Sunday, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the NBA record. ... Ime Udoka scored 15 for the Spurs. Michael Finley had 12.