Spurs slept aboard grounded plane in New Orleans

The San Antonio Spurs, fresh off a Game 7 win over the New Orleans Hornets, were planning a quick getaway to Los Angeles to prepare to face the Lakers in the Western Conference finals.

Instead, they spent the night in their grounded plane in New Orleans.

The Spurs' departure from New Orleans after eliminating the Hornets 91-82 in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals was delayed several hours after their plane had mechanical problems, the team said Tuesday.

The team could not find hotel rooms in the city, so the players had to sleep on the plane, team spokesman Cliff Puchalski said.

"We slept on the plane -- as much as you can sleep," Puchalski said. "We tried to keep some normal semblance of order."

Puchalski said the team slept on the plane with the mechanical problems before boarding another plane that was brought in from Minneapolis. The team took off about 6:30 a.m. Central time, Puchalski said, and landed in Los Angeles about four hours later.

San Antonio uses the charter company Champion Air, which has announced it is ceasing all operations at the end of May.

Henry Abbott writes the TrueHoop blog for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.