CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dejounte Murray scored 21 points and the San Antonio Spurs gave Tim Duncan his first victory as an acting head coach with a 104-103 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night.
Spurs longtime coach Gregg Popovich missed the game while dealing with “personal business,” according to the team. Popovich is expected to return to the bench for Friday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
The team would not say if Popovich made the trip to Charlotte.
Terry Rozier had 20 points and P.J. Washington added 19 with five 3-pointers for the Hornets.
Duncan was mostly mild-mannered on the bench, not showing much emotion as the game progressed.
However, he challenged a charge call by Derrick White with 9:09 left in the fourth quarter, but the play was not overturned.
The Hornets jumped to a 12-2 lead to open the game, prompting Duncan to use his first timeout. Charlotte extended its lead to as many 17 in the first half, but the Spurs battled back to take a 77-76 lead entering the fourth quarter.
San Antonio extended the lead to six with 4:24 left in the game after three free throws by Bryn Forbes, just moments after he appeared to get away with a travel in the lane that drew boos from the home crowd.
Rozier cut the Spurs’ lead to one with a driving layup with 42 seconds left. After DeMar DeRozan missed a pull-up jumper, the Hornets had a chance to win the game on their final possession. However, after Rozier drove to the basket, his pass under the basket went in and out of the hands of Cody Martin, allowing the Spurs to escape with just their fourth win in the last 11 games.
Spurs: Forbes added 15 points and DeRozan had 12 points and 10 assists.
Hornets: Leading scorer Devonte Graham sat out with left ankle soreness following a collision with Giannis Antetokounmpo in Tuesday night’s loss to the Bucks. Graham is listed as day-to-day.. ... LaMarcus Aldridge did not play due to right shoulder soreness.. ... The Hornets on Tuesday signed guard Joe Chealey to a second 10-day contract. ... Cody Martin got his second career start for the Hornets. ... Hornets outrebounded the Spurs 47-33.
Spurs: Visit the Nets on Friday night.
Hornets: Host the Nuggets on Thursday night in their third straight home game.