CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge each had 17 points and seven rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs held the Charlotte Hornets to 37 percent shooting in a 106-86 victory on Saturday night.
Rudy Gay added 15 points for the Spurs, who snapped Charlotte’s three-game home win streak.
The Hornets entered the game 7-2 at the Spectrum Center, but shot just 22 percent from the field in the first half, fell behind by 11 at halftime and could never make a serious run at the Spurs.
Kemba Walker, who left the game briefly in the third quarter with a left shoulder injury, returned to finish with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He didn’t get much help as Charlotte’s four other starters — Nic Batum, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams — were a combined 6 of 29 from the field.
The Hornets cut the lead to 50-42 in the third quarter, but the Spurs responded with a 9-0 run highlighted by Kyle Anderson’s steal and dunk.
Charlotte could never cut the lead to single digits after that point.
There was a scary moment in the third quarter when Walker went down with a left shoulder injury after colliding with Aldridge on a screen.
Walker remained on the floor in the fetal position for about a minute before being helped up and taken to the locker room. He was diagnosed with a bruised left shoulder and returned to the game later in the quarter, but the Hornets were already down by 15.
The Spurs built a 40-29 halftime lead after holding the Hornets to 22.2 percent (10 of 45) shooting from the field.
Both teams got off to a horrible start.
The Hornets led 15-14 after the first quarter despite hitting just 5 of 23 shots from the field. The Spurs were 6 of 23.
Spurs: Outscored the Hornets 22-8 in the paint in the first half. … Shot 6 of 25 from 3-point range.
Hornets: Howard was fined $35,000 by the NBA earlier in the day after making an obscene gesture to a fan during Friday night’s 100-99 loss at Cleveland. …. Came into the game averaging having attempted 524 free throws compared to just 361 for their opponents.
Spurs: Host Mavericks on Monday night.
Hornets: Visit Raptors on Wednesday night.