The Spurs beat the Hornets: NO leads series 2-1

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Published: May 9, 2008

I had a feeling it was coming. As I mentioned in the things to look for post earlier today, the Hornets had an abysmal night shooting from deep(18%), the Spurs were hitting their deep shots at a nice clip(44%). That – and some missed free throws – was the difference in the game in the end. Otherwise the Hornets were essentially even in turnovers(even), fouls(-1), free-throws(even), rebounding(-2) and shoting percentage(+2%).

Tony Parker slices through the Hornets D in Game 3

I'm not particularly bothered by the loss. We knew the Spurs weren't going to roll over for us, so we just need to come back Sunday and take one in SA.

Some observations about the game, bullet style:

  • Other than Wright, our bench was not good tonight. Bonzi had some boneheaded shots and plays and Pargo, once again, couldn't find the bottom of the net, shooting 1-7. Ely, who had provided some solid defense on Duncan in the earlier two games, provided us with fouls, turnovers, and an awful 3-second violation that negated a made three. Harsh.
  • West had himself a nice game until crunch time, when he uncharacteristically botched 3 free throws in a row and got blocked twice.
  • The Spurs perimeter defense was much improved by leaving Bowen on the Perimeter and letting Ginobili track Peterson. Surprise? Peterson and Peja combined to shoot 3-10 and get 2 threes.
  • Tyson Chandler had a nice game going until he picked up three quick fouls in the third – two of them stupid fouls he could have easily avoided. Thats when we got Ely. Yay.
  • The Spur's execution was excellent tonight, leading to 28 assists. They were driving and dishing and swinging and driving until they found the open man. After having countered that by determined scrambling in games 1 and 2, the Hornets weren't able to keep up with it this game.
  • The Hornets perimeter defense got shredded tonight. Parker and Ginobili kept getting wherever they wanted, both scoring 31, and Ginobili was clearly in all-out attack mode. The guy was never at rest, and I salute him for fighting through that gimpy ankle. He was a game-changer.
  • Paul scored 35 on 15-25 shooting and had 9 assists with one turnover. He spent more time in the paint than almost anyone else on the floor, unleashing his hesitation dribble and crossover to get right to the top of the dotted circle multiple times. Duncan was unwilling to lay off Chandler to challenge him for fear of the alley-oop, and it resulted in Paul drilling a layup line.
  • The Spurs played all their best 4 players – Bowen, Duncan, Parker and Ginobili 40 minutes each. Unusual for Pop to do that, so he must have been determined to not let this game slide.
  • Duncan wasn't able to get much going on his own on the offensive end, but when he was able to catch a pass moving through the lane and go, he was effective. Defensively, he had a pretty big impact, altering shots and helping on West effectively when West made moves into the paint.

Next game isn't until Sunday. It'll be interesting to see all the "told you so" articles that will crop up now that the Spurs have won one. It was a bit over the top the number of columns I've seen announcing the Spurs were finished over the past few days.

They aren't finished until game 5 of this series.

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