Spurs look to close homestand with win vs. shorthanded Hornets

The San Antonio Spurs look to end their homestand on a positive note and build on their most recent success when they host the shorthanded Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.

The Spurs play the final game of a five-game stretch at home after a 112-97 win over New Orleans on Sunday. Jakob Poeltl and Derrick White scored 24 points each, and Dejounte Murray added a triple double as San Antonio Spurs was at its best in the fourth quarter despite playing the second of a home back-to-back.

Keldon Johnson added 17 points for San Antonio in Sunday’s victory while Doug McDermott scored 13, Lonnie Walker IV had 11 points and Murray racked up 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Poeltl also took 12 rebounds, seven of those on the offensive end.

“(Derrick White) is kind of ridiculous right now, isn’t he?” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “When he, and (Dejounte Murray) and Jakob (Poeltl) play like that, we have an opportunity to win basketball games. They were just relentless defensively, and on the boards.”

The Spurs led by only a point after three quarters but scored the first seven points of the fourth. San Antonio continued to expand its advantage throughout the period and rolled to its second win in the past three games. It is 2-2 through the first four games of the homestand.

“Derrick and DJ were attacking pretty hard, and then I was trying to be aggressive in my rolls and getting to the rim,” Poeltl said. “It’s a matter of chemistry. I feel like we’ve been doing a really good job with that. It’s just about finding the best shot for the team.”

The Hornets head to the Alamo City after a 120-96 loss in Dallas on Monday in a game that was the first of a six-game road trip for Charlotte through the Western Conference. After playing in San Antonio, the Hornets travel to Portland, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Denver.

Charlotte has been shackled by COVID-19, with Terry Rozier returning to the team from the league’s health and safety protocol in time to score 20 points in the loss to Dallas. Kelly Oubre Jr. also hit for 20 points for the Hornets, who played without Mason Plumlee, Jalen McDaniels, LaMelo Ball and Ish Smith because of the virus.

Rozier missed four games, and that allowed him to give his sore right ankle a bit of an unexpected rest.

“Yeah, I think I needed a little time off and it was a blessing in disguise,” he said. “So, it worked out.”

Plumlee and McDaniels are expected to be available for Wednesday’s game, with Ball and Smith perhaps returning as soon as Friday in Portland. Charlotte has lost six of its past 10 games, with two of those losses on overtime.

“The more bodies back the better,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said after Monday’s loss. “This is a long road trip. We are going to need more bodies to get through this. So, we welcome them back. It’ll just add to the depth of this team, and it will allow us to continue the momentum we had before we lost them.”

The Spurs split the season-series with the Hornets last year and own a 42-20 all-time edge over Charlotte.

–Field Level Media