The New Orleans Hornets beat Southwest Division rival the San Antonio Spurs 99-90 on Saturday to improve to 3-0 on the young NBA season.
The Hornets, who had built a 78-60 lead early in the fourth quarter, had to weather a furious rally by the Spurs that reduced the deficit to just three points with a little more than two minutes remaining before the Hornets scored the final six points.
“It is gratifying to come in here and get a win,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said. “Any road win is big.”
Chris Paul led the Hornets with 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Manu Ginobili was the top scorer for San Antonio with 23 points and Richard Jefferson added 18 points including 10 in the fourth-quarter rally.
David West added 18 points for the Hornets and Marcus Thornton scored 17 points in more than 30 minutes off the bench.
New Orleans rallied from a seven-point first-quarter deficit to take a one-point lead at halftime and added to the lead with a dominant third quarter when they outscored the Spurs 33-18.
San Antonio shot just 39 percent from the field and were six-for-26 from three-point range.
BULLS 101, PISTONS 91
In Chicago, Derrick Rose matched a career high with 39 points as the Chicago Bulls staged a big rally to beat the Detroit Pistons.
Chicago trailed by 21 early in the third quarter and was still down 86-73 about three minutes into the fourth when it went on a 19-2 run to pull out a dramatic win in the home opener.
Joakim Noah had 15 points and 17 rebounds, while Taj Gibson scored 11.
James Johnson wound up with eight points and nine rebounds as the Bulls delivered in the end after coming up short down the stretch in the opener against Oklahoma City.
Chicago overcame a spectacular first half by former Bulls star Ben Gordon, who scored all of his 21 points before intermission.
BUCKS 98, BOBCATS 88
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Brandon Jennings had his first career triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the Bucks’ victory in their home opener.
Andrew Bogut added 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for Milwaukee.
With Bogut back manning the middle, the 21-year-old Jennings was free to roam and make plays for Milwaukee’s first win in the matchup of 0-2 Eastern Conference playoff teams from last season.
D.J. Augustin scored 26 points and Stephen Jackson had 23 for the Bobcats.
HAWKS 99, WIZARDS 95
In Atlanta, Georgia, Joe Johnson scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter as Atlanta remained unbeaten, winning its home opener.
After opening with wins at Memphis and Philadelphia, Atlanta gave the home fans their first look at a team that features largely the same roster as last year’s playoff team, but a new motion offense under rookie coach Larry Drew.
Rookie John Wall led the Wizards with 28 points, while Thornton added 24. However, the Wizards still lost their 10th in a row to the Hawks.
Al Horford had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta.
NUGGETS 107, ROCKETS 94
In Houston, Texas, Al Harrington scored 28 points and Carmelo Anthony had 24 to help Denver ruin Houston’s first home game.
Chauncey Billups scored 13 points, Nene had 12 points and 12 rebounds as the Nuggets won in Houston for only the fifth time in the last 18 games there.
Luis Scola scored 28 and Kevin Martin added 21 for the Rockets, who are 0-3 for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.