NBA News: Spurs Go On 18-0 Third Quarter Run, Beat Hornets 114-94

NBA News: Spurs Go On 18-0 Third Quarter Run, Beat Hornets 114-94
San Antonio Spurs Michael Tipton / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Kawhi Leonard had 23 points while new recruit Lamarcus Aldridge added 16 as the San Antonio Spurs pulled away for a 114-94 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.


Spurs used an 18-0 run in the final four minutes of the third quarter behind a hat-trick of three-pointers from Manu Ginobli (watch video below) to turn a 73-71 deficit into an 89-73 lead.

While the Spurs’ starters were typically efficient, their reserves had a big night, outscoring Hornets’ backups 49-31. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” reserve point guard Patty Mills said after the victory. “We’re all learning each other and it’s good to know that when we have glimpses like that. It makes for an exciting sort of time, to know that if we can pull it all together and be more consistent with it, we’ll be all right,” added the Australian.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was pleased with the performance of the second unit. “That group enjoys coming off the bench and playing together. Patty (Mills) is healthier than he was last year. They’re a little bit more of a movement team. They run a little bit of a sort of different set when they are out there than the other group.”

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Kemba Walker finished with a season-high 27 points while Jeremy Lin added 12 from the bench but the Spurs proved too much for the Charlotte-based club. “They got hot, man,” Walker said. “They got hot late in the game. We made some mistakes and they made us pay. That’s what they do, especially late in the game. They can explode just like that.”

In what was their highest scoring game of the season, Spurs knocked down eight 3-pointers in the second half alone, pleasing veteran Ginobili. “We moved the ball very sharply. We made a ton of shots and gave the team big leads. So of course we’re proud of that. That stretch was incredible. I don’t know what type of run that was. It was fun to be out there. We ran all over the place, took some open shots, played good D. At the same time, sometimes you make shots, but they make it, too. So it doesn’t create momentum. But today, it was impressive. It was fun to be out there.”

While new recruits such as Aldridge, David West and Rasual Butler are still finding their roles in the new system, these are ominous signs for the rest of the Western Conference as the Spurs gear up for a possible sixth championship next June.