The Hornets beat the Spurs

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Published: January 27, 2008

What the Hornets did in San Antonio last night was nothing short of pure dominance. Our guys rolled into town with a swagger and may have finally convinced the basketball world that New Orleans is for real. How can we be ignored after handing the defending champs their biggest loss of the season on their own damn floor?

David West. Monstrous.

Let's dive into some notes on this one…

  • "West was really the killer. He was the monster. He was impossible for us to guard." – Those were the words of Spurs honcho Gregg Popovich after the game last night. He had just witnessed David West score 32 points, 20 in the second half, on 15-of-19 shooting. Badass.
  • Our other big guns also played great. Chris Paul finished with 17 points and 11 assists. He let Parker get his in the first half, but turned it on at crunch time and did some MVP-type shit. Peja Stojakovic stayed hot, knocking down various medium and long bombs for 22 points. Legend. Tyson Chandler was a warrior out there, taking some knocks and battling foul trouble, but still coming through with solid defense on Tim Duncan.
  • Hilton Armstrong played a nice 15 minutes tonight. He came on for Tyson early because TC picked up two quick fouls. Hilton started out by stealing a post feed to Duncan, and ended the first half with a sweet swat of a Parker layup. He did get burned a few times trying to guard the pick and roll, but overall I think he deserves praise for this one. He was active on both ends and stayed on his feet defensively. Nice job.
  • Ryan Bowen with ZEE MONSTER JAMZ!! Dude needs to get himself in the dunk contest. He was great tonight with the usual hustle. There was one sequence about midway through the fourth quarter, where Bowen was everywhere on defense, going from the top of the key, down to the corner and across the base to the other corner in about five seconds. He ended up getting a hand in the face of Ime Udoka as he attempted a three, then somehow managed to beat just about everyone down the floor to receive a feed from CP and drop a layup. How he didn't cough up a lung after that, I do not know.
  • The Hornets defensive rotation has amazed me recently. Next time Chris is playing D out high, and his man feeds the post, watch what happens. Against the Spurs, Parker would feed Duncan inside, and Chris would drop down to double. Our weak side guard (usually Mo-Pete), would then come across to cover Parker. Now when Duncan would kick it back out to Parker, Chris wouldn't even look to get back out there, not even glance in that direction, because he knows his teammate has him covered. Instead, he would turn and go right across the lane to find whoever Peterson had left. It's amazing how much trust they must have in each other to do this right. If one guy messes up it all falls apart. They've probably been running it like that for quite a while now, but I only really took notice of it at the Clippers game on Friday. Beautiful to watch.
  • Our bench struggled scoring tonight. Byron changed it up a bit and started all reserves in the second quarter, and Pargo was the only guy out there with an offensive mindset. Ugly.
  • It was a pretty physical game. I love that the Hornets give as good as they get when teams try to beat them up. Chris wasn't taking any shit, and even threw a couple of cheap shots at the Spurs. Bruce Bowen can't be mad.
  • Defensively, the Spurs did a nice job in the first half. They were looking out for that CP-TC hook-up and broke up a few oops. They also doubled West pretty good down low. In the second half, we just threw too many weapons at them and they couldn't cover them all. I don't think any team can. When Peja is hitting from outside, Chris is ripping through the middle and West is inventing new ways to score every time he touches the ball, there's nothing the opposing team can do but shake their heads and inbound the rock.

I can imagine the Spurs' die-hards discussing this one. "Who cares? It's a regular season game. See what happens if we meet the Hornets in the Playoffs." I can see their point. This loss doesn't mean much to them, but the win is huge for us. Byron had the starters out there at the beginning of the fourth quarter, while Popovich went with a traditional reserve unit. It was a great move by Byron because we tore them a new one, but I think if Popovich could do it all over again he wouldn't change a thing. He'd keep his rotation the same, because the Spurs are all about the big picture. They don't need to win games like this. They've earned their respect. They can cruise to the Playoffs and then pick it up.

The Hornets? We're still earning it. Games like this are huge because folks have yet to take us seriously. I'll happily sit back and enjoy all this regular season success, but what's great about being a Hornets fan right now is that I don't think we're even close to the peak. Methinks this elevator can go all the way to the top.

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