NEW ORLEANS (AP) -The nagging pain in Tony Parker's left foot lingers, so he tries to play through it as best he can, with some days better than others.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, Parker felt pretty good on Monday, then went out and scored 25 points as the San Antonio Spurs handed New Orleans a rare home loss, 97-90.
``I'm in surviving mode. It's tough,' said Parker, who only recently revealed that his foot was bothering him. ``I can't look at myself in the mirror and say I can't play. It's just like nagging injuries. ... It's good days and bad days. I felt pretty good today.'
Parker said his back was stiff two nights ago when he scored only four points on 2-of-8 shooting at Memphis, which was San Antonio's second straight loss during a four-game road swing that concluded in the Big Easy.
Against New Orleans, he routinely drove hard to the hoop, losing defenders on screens and finding lanes to the basket.
``I was trying to be very aggressive early on and I tried to redeem myself,' he said. ``We had to bounce back.'
Tim Duncan added 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Spurs, while George Hill scored 16 points and Manu Ginobili had 11.
David West scored 18 points for New Orleans, which lost for only the second time in its last 15 home games. Chris Paul, who fouled out in the final minute, had 18 points and nine assists for the Hornets, while Marcus Thornton scored 16 points.
``It comes down to us starters. We have to come out with more energy and set the tone,' Paul said. ``They really kept us in front of them. They never really let us get to the basket. We didn't get to the (free throw) line much at all. It's been the story for us. We've got to figure out other ways to win other than just making shots.'
Starting in place of Richard Jefferson, who sat out with lower back pain, Hill drew the primary defensive assignment on Paul and helped get him into early foul trouble.
``George did a good job playing defense on him, but you know it takes the whole team to contain him,' Parker said. ``I thought overall we paid attention and made sure we're not giving him anything easy. Then it was my job on offense to try to get him tired and attack him.'
San Antonio led by double digits for most of the game, going up by as many as 21 points when Duncan hit one of two free throws to make it 76-55 late in the third quarter.
The Spurs went into the fourth quarter with a 17-point lead, which the Hornets quickly trimmed with a 7-0 run to open the period. Thornton's fast-break layup made it 78-68 and the Hornets pulled to 80-72 on Darren Collison's free throws with 7:06 remaining.
New Orleans missed several chances to get closer and still trailed by eight when Parker's driving scoop made it 84-74 with 4:40 to go. Parker scored seven more points in the final minutes.
San Antonio outrebounded New Orleans 50-38, with DeJuan Blair grabbing 13 for the Spurs, including five on the offensive end. The Spurs were the more forceful team drawing fouls inside. Despite missing 14 free throws, they still outscored the Hornets 24-10 from the foul line.
``We got to the line a lot and unfortunately we missed a bunch of them, but it paid off for us,' Duncan said. ``Just good aggressiveness on our part. It was a big difference in the game.
``DeJuan did a great job on the boards, just not giving them second shots and getting some easy stuff on the offensive glass,' Duncan added. ``That's going to be big for us throughout the season.'
The Spurs were 7 of 18 from 3-point range with Keith Bogans hitting three. New Orleans went only 4 of 13 from long range.
Ginobili's 3-pointer made it 24-12 at the end of the first quarter. The lead got as large as 18 in the second quarter on Hill's reverse layup, which capped a 9-2 run and made it 47-29.
Parker had 16 points by halftime, when the Spurs led 56-41.
NOTES: Jefferson had not missed any of the Spurs' previous 39 games. ... James Posey and Parker were called for double technical fouls in the fourth quarter. ... New Orleans is 15-4 at home. ... The Spurs are 8-9 on the road. ... This was the second of four meetings this season between San Antonio and New Orleans. The Spurs won the first, 113-96 at home. ... Paul's CP3 foundation announced that the guard had made a $61,616.61 donation to relief efforts in Haiti. The amount was to honor his grandfather, who was slain when he was 61. ... Saints running back Reggie Bush and his girlfriend, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, sat in courtside seats across from the Hornets' bench.
The Associated Press News Service
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