Hornets-Spurs: Sunday News Wrap

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Published: May 11, 2008

Man, everybody must be taking the weekend off. Not so much Hornets-Spurs talk on the internets right now. Here's what I've dug up this morning…

While Chris Paul and Tony Parker do battle on the court, they are of course good friends off it. In the San Antonio Express-News, Jeff McDonald tells us that the pair are even hanging out together during the playoffs…

  • After Game 1 of this series, Paul hosted Parker for dinner at his home in New Orleans. Parker is expected to return the favor before the festivities shift back to the Big Easy.

Elizabeth White also has an AP article on Parker vs. Paul today, quoting Manu Ginobili in there…

  • "They are kind of similar. I think that Chris Paul is getting really good getting to the paint and finding the open teammate," the Spurs' Manu Ginobili said after Game 3. "I think Tony plays faster. He's deadly in transition. So I think Paul uses more of the pick-and-roll and is getting very smart and very used to that kind of system with those teammates… They are two of the most impressive point guards in the league for sure."

Buck Harvey has a pretty cool article on Tim Duncan today. Here's the lead in…

  • There's a shooting machine in the Spurs' practice facility. It's called the "Gun 6000."

    The device comes with a wide net that sits above and around the rim, and basketballs bounce into the net and funnel downward. After a few seconds the ball spits out of an opening, not unlike ball-return machines made for tennis.

    And had you come into the gym in June of 2006, just weeks after the Spurs last lost a playoff series, you would have seen what was there Saturday:

    Tim Duncan, wearing earphones, lost in his world of fundamentals and repetition, alone and on the Gun.

    This is how he heals himself.

If the Spurs' Robert Horry gets off the bench tonight, he'll tie the playoff record of 236 games played. Mike Monroe has more in the Express-News…

  • As Robert Horry dragged his 37-year-old frame across the practice court to retrieve a sport drink from a cooler, shooting coach Chip Engelland implored tired players to finish their beverages, then put up 50 free throws.

    Horry shot Engelland a wicked glance, and the coach said: "This is just a request, guys, but I'm serious."

    One playoff appearance shy of matching Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leader in postseason games played, Horry ignored Engelland's plea and ambled toward the locker room.

    After 236 postseason games, Horry understands his own body and when his shooting stroke is right.

Will Gregg Popovich start Manu Ginobili again tonight?

  • "We're going to decide a minute before the game," Popovich said, "just to keep everyone in suspense."

As for the Hornets bench, Byron Scott was busy out-playing them at practice yesterday. Mike Finger has the story…

  • In a riveting, impromptu 3-point shooting contest Saturday, Byron Scott beat Julian Wright in overtime. This was encouraging news for any 40-and-over rec league teams hoping to sign Scott this summer.

    But for his New Orleans Hornets? It was just more evidence that Scott has reason to be concerned about the production of his role players.

Bits and pieces from Teddy Kider's latest in the Times-Picayune…

  • The Hornets said Saturday before practicing that they allowed the Spurs to play a slower, half-court game, something Scott warned against before the game. One of the Hornets' keys in Game 4 will be re-establishing their transition game, Scott said.

    And if the home team wins again tonight, there's always that home-court advantage for the Hornets.

    "That means we've got two of the next three at home," Scott said. "So yeah, I feel good about that. That's not what I want to do, but if that's what it comes down to, then that's what it is. So we'll just regroup if that happens and get ready for Game 5."

  • Hornets forward Peja Stojakovic said Saturday that several of the Spurs' 11 3-pointers in Game 3 were uncontested. But Scott came prepared with statistics showing why the Hornets need to improve their interior defense, where Spurs guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili took over.

    Parker had 31 points on 12-of-24 shooting, and Ginobili finished with 31 points on 11-of-22 shooting.

    "(Ginobili) had eight attempts in the paint, (and) he scored seven of them," Scott said. "He was 4-for-14 from the field on 2-point shots and 3-point shots. Tony Parker was 9-for-16 in the paint. That's where big men shoot the ball most of the time — 9-for-16. Between those two guys, out of the 42 points they had in the paint, they had 32 of them, their guards. So we've got to do a better job of keeping them out of the paint, forcing them to shoot contested jump shots. That's the bottom line."

John DeShazier writes about the Hornets finishing, ahem, prematurely in Game 3…

  • "On the defensive end, we lost our focus down the stretch," forward Peja Stojakovic said. "A couple of loose balls we didn't get, long rebounds, impatient on offense — those things, you can't do against the Spurs. Like we've said, they're not going to beat themselves. You've got to play all the way through."

    That's a lesson Coach Byron Scott probably thought his inexperienced team already had learned. But perhaps, from time to time, a refresher course is given, whether the Hornets want it or not. The tune-up cost New Orleans a game, but at least not a series.

    "We made so many defensive mistakes, we missed so many assignments," Scott said. "Our focus wasn't completely there, and we've got to get that back."

John Reid writes about the Hornets desired adjustments for Game 3, which should hopefully lead to a faster tempo, better defense, and improved bench play…

  • The Hornets' videotape review sessions have been longer this weekend so players could see their mistakes in the Game 3 loss to San Antonio and Coach Byron Scott can come up with adjustments.

Marc J. Spears of The Boston Globe almost believes in the Hornets

  • Sorry, New Orleans. I don't believe yet. But I'm almost there, and if the Hornets can win Game 4 of their second-round series on the road tonight against the reigning NBA champion Spurs to take a 3-1 series lead, I might have to believe.

    "I know nobody expects us [to win]," said Hornets center Tyson Chandler. "But we don't expect to lose. We have the exact opposite expectations of everyone else in the world."

[EDITED TO ADD:] I somehow missed this post earlier, from Chris Bernucca over at NBA.com's blog for the Hornets-Spurs series. Bernucca writes about the role of team foul trouble in Game 3, and how players have played much better on their home floor so far in the series…

  • At the 8:27 mark of the third quarter of Game 3, the Spurs committed their fifth team foul, putting the Hornets into the bonus. Peja Stojakovic made both free throws to give New Orleans a 64-62 lead.

    The Hornets had a real chance to disrupt the rhythm of the game simply by spending the rest of the quarter attacking the basket. But for the final 8 1/2 minutes of the period, they shot just three free throws – a split pair by Stojakovic at the 2:46 mark and an and-one by Paul with 1:34 to go.

    In the same span, the Spurs shot 12 free throws, even though they did not move into the bonus until 3:35 remained in the period. As a result, San Antonio took an 83-78 lead into the final quarter, where it pulled away. 

And that's your lot. Game 4 gets tipped at 7p.m. Central this evening. In the meantime, you can go tell Hornets Hype how you became obsessed with the teal and gold.

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