Game 4 Aftermath: Monday News Wrap

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Published: May 12, 2008

The Spurs dismantled the Hornets in San Antonio last night and tied things up at two games apiece. Ryan wrapped it up here at Hornets247 last night. Time now to scour the web and see what's being said…

We'll jump it up with Jim Eichenhofer's recap over at The Official

  • San Antonio connected on 51.3 percent of its shots, while New Orleans only barely edged over the 40 percent mark by scoring a few garbage-time buckets late. The Spurs did a tremendous job on New Orleans second- and third-leading scorers David West and Peja Stojakovic, who combined to go 7-for-24 from the field for 16 points. The Hornets probably need about twice that output from those two primary weapons in order to have a chance to prevail at the AT&T Center. Despite New Orleans missing 49 shots Sunday, it only registered 10 offensive rebounds. Overall, San Antonio posted a 45-36 advantage on the boards.

    "I thought we went back to some of our bad habits from earlier in the season," assessed the often brutally honest Scott during his postgame press conference. "Where we missed some easy shots, and let that dictate how hard we play on the defensive end. We went back to being a little bit experienced. I thought we didn't match (the Spurs') effort. The Spurs are kicking our butts from a physical standpoint."

The key stretch in Game 4, according to Tom Orsborn in the San Antonio Express-News…

  • Playing with a sense of urgency usually reserved for the fourth period of a Game 7, the Spurs looked unstoppable in the first 5:27 of the second period, outscoring the Hornets 21-6. During that stretch, the Spurs hit 9 of 11 shots from the field, including back-to-back 3-point shots by Manu Ginobili and Ime Udoka to start the period. The Hornets, meanwhile, missed eight of their first 11 shots in the second to trail by 17 points after Tony Parker capped the run with an 18-foot jumper. The onslaught continued in the third period, which saw the Spurs outscore the Hornets 30-19.

A few excerpts from John Hollinger's game recap over at ESPN.com…

  • The Spurs' ball movement was outrageously good, with the ball flying around the perimeter once one of the big three gave it up and seemingly always landing in the paws of an open shooter. That enabled the Spurs to shoot 58.9 percent through three quarters and assist 22 of their 33 field goals; nearly all the ones that weren't assisted were straight screen-and-roll drives by Parker.
  • Duncan's offense had to be the most depressing part for the Hornets. If you're going to constantly double Duncan and let him get 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting, then you're pretty much screwed.
  • Don't expect the Hornets to roll over. They're young, yes, but in talking with both the Mavericks and the Spurs in these first two rounds, it's been clear how much respect opponents have for New Orleans' ability to play beyond its years. The Hornets are unusually smart and team-oriented for young guys, and they're tough. "They have an edge to them," a Spurs exec said.

In the Times-Picayune, Dan McCarney writes about Duncan's comfort zone at home, with quotes from Parker and Popovich…

  • "It makes me laugh to hear Timmy's struggling," teammate Tony Parker said. "He's getting doubled every time. He's doing what he's supposed to do by finding his teammates. I just think he had more opportunities and he made more shots tonight."
  • "I thought he was very aggressive," Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich said. "With all the doubling, they're forcing him to be a quarterback in this series. He's making great choices."

Quotes from the AP game recap

  • "I'm just trying to do my part," Duncan said. "It's just that. You've got to step up at playoff time. It's win or go home. So you've got to step up and make plays."
  • "We've got to play Game 5 the same way we approached Game 3 and 4," San Antonio's Manu Ginobili said. "That is going to be huge, so we don't have to have any satisfaction with what we just accomplished. We are the same way we started."
  • "I really can't explain this one," Paul said. "We just looked pretty bad out there tonight. We've got to bounce back. We came out here to try and get a win here and we came up short. But the good thing about it is it's just 2 to 2 now. Now it's a three-game series. First one to win two games wins it; there's no time to panic."
  • "Our defense was solid tonight," Parker said. "We are trying to do a better job on Chris Paul and David West but our help defense was great tonight and so we have to play the same defense on the road now."
  • "What we have to do is get the level of intensity back," Scott said. "That's the bottom line. We've got to compete. And I don't think we competed tonight."

From the bunch of notes at the bottom of that same AP report…

  • Paul's mother and Hornets F Julian Wright's mother were in attendance … The Hornets switched to their teal uniforms on Sunday from the gold they wore in Game 3. … Parker's wife, Eva Longoria Parker, was at the game. She missed her own TV show, ABC's "Desperate Housewives," which was on during the game. … Actor Tommy Lee Jones and country singer George Strait also were in the crowd.

From John Reid's article in today's Times-Picayune…

  • Duncan led the Spurs with 22 points, Parker scored 21 and Ginobili had 15. The Spurs made 51 percent of their shots, and they made eight 3-pointers. The Spurs were unable to score more than 84 points in each of the first two games against the Hornets in New Orleans. By the end of the third quarter Sunday night, they had 85 points and a 24-point lead after outscoring the Hornets 30-19 in the quarter.
  • "Defensively, I thought we were all over the place," said forward David West, who scored 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting. "We were not able to contain Parker, Ginobili or Duncan. We didn't play with any fire."

Buck Harvey thinks the Spurs are in control of the series after their Game 4 win. Bits and pieces from his article in the Express-News

  • The Hornets will tell themselves they are fine, and Chris Paul started Sunday night. "No time to panic," he said.

    Paul will lean on a few things. One is that the Hornets badly beat the Spurs in New Orleans.

    Still, Tuesday will be the biggest playoff game of Paul's life. For Robert Horry, it will be what — the 56th-biggest?

  • This is also what happens when you have Bruce Bowen. He continued to carry around Peja Stojakovic as New Orleans fans do — with his head on a stick. Stojakovic is 5 of 16 since the switch.
  • I give the Hornets a chance, all right.

    In a few years.

48 Minutes of Hell wonders about the Hornets' psyche after their first blowout loss of the postseason…

  • The Hornets Psyche: This is really this biggest X-factor coming out of this game. The Spurs, as they have just proven, can take a licking and keep on ticking. When we get blown out all it does is focus us, not unnerve us. This is where we will see what type of mental fortitude these Hornets have. From an X's and O's standpoint, Popovich has the Hornets figured out, in my opinion. It was always just a matter of time. But now we will see whether a blowout like this gets in the head of New Orleans. Will they start to over-analyze? Will the tight calls in game 4 affect their defensive tenacity in game 5? Will they continue to believe they are the better team? This is the Hornets' third loss of the post-season, but its their first rout. I'm not saying the Hornets will buckle. I am just saying that this next game will reveal a lot about how far this team is mentally prepared to go this year.

Jeff McDonald on the Spurs' improved defense

  • "Defensively, I thought we were better than we have been this entire series," Duncan said.

    Chris Paul scored 23 points to lead the Hornets, but unable to find anyone else to make shots, had just six assists.

    Jannero Pargo, a reserve guard, was New Orleans' second-leading scorer with 11 points — a bad sign for the Hornets. Another bad sign: It took Pargo 14 shots.

    "That's the best way for us to play," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Playing good defense fuels everything we do."

Also in the Express-News, Mike Finger says that the Spurs have altered the Hornets mindset

  • This is what the Spurs did over the weekend. They took a locker room full of kids and hope and wonder and turned it into a morgue. They met the energy and confidence of youth and slapped it silly with grit and experience. And they put themselves in position to spend next week in Los Angeles, with the only caveat being that the Lakers might lose to the Jazz.
  • "We didn't even try tonight," West said. "I don't know what we have to do, but we didn't come out with the right focus in the game, from the jump ball."

Over at NBA.com, John Schuhmann live blogged last night's game. Here's his final thoughts…

  • Game 4 was easily the Spurs' best defensive performance of the series. They pressured the ball, denied passing lanes and forced the Hornets to take tough, contested shots. While Chris Paul was able to have a solid game thanks to talent that can't be stopped by any defense, none of his teammates could get anything going offensively.

    Those Hornets not named Paul shot 14-for-49 (.286) in the first three quarters tonight. That's bad. And when you combine that with a relatively strong offensive game from the Spurs, you have yourself a blowout.

A couple bullets from Mike Monroe's notebook

  • When Spurs coach Gregg Popovich put Horry in Sunday's Western Conference semifinal playoff Game 4 with 1:49 remaining in the first half, it marked the 237th playoff game of Horry's 16-year career. It tied him with Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most playoff games in NBA history.
  • As reporters waited to interview Spurs guard Manu Ginobili at his locker after the game, a mouse jumped out of his laundry bag as a clubhouse attendant picked it up.

    "I guess I've got to do laundry more often," Ginobili joked.

After playing very little in Game 3, the Spurs' Ime Udoka came off the bench to score 15 points in 23 minutes last night, dropping 3-of-5 from deep. Mike Monroe writes about Udoka's play in the Express-news…

  • Udoka didn't know what Popovich was thinking before the game, but he got a hint from an assistant coach that he might expect a much earlier call than he had gotten in Game 3.

    "Pop never says anything before the game," Udoka said. "It's what he feels like doing at the time, and I know when Bonzi comes in, I think he likes me on Bonzi."

Courtesy of The Starting Five, here's Charles Barkley's advice for David West on TNT last night…

  • "I've got advice for David West, he's got to let the thing with (Fabricio) Oberto go. Oberto can't guard him. (Oberto) is a terrific player but all he can do is frustrate (West), and he got frustrated and got a couple of offensive fouls in the game. When you're playing against players that you're better than, all they can do is disrupt your flow, so knock the hell out of him one time and let it go."

At the Hive's got a Game 4 recap. Here's the lead in…

  • First and foremost, don't bring any referee complaints into this one. We got outperformed in every possible manner. Rebounding? Check. Tim Duncan very nearly outrebounded our starters by himself. Turnovers? Check. Chris Paul forced and forced and forced (uncharacteristically). Aggressiveness? Check. The Spurs went to the line twice as often as the Hornets, and though Duncan got numerous touch fouls, the point is he got touch fouls going towards the hoop. Shooting? Of course a check.

    Then there's the one thing we have to change back in New Orleans: don't bring the double on Duncan until he puts the ball on the floor.

Analysis of Game 4 via video and good old-fashioned words over at The X's and O's of Basketball

  • Prior to the playoffs, the talk all around regarding the Hornets was their lack of experience. I think in the past 2 games it's safe to say, we saw some of that inexperience show itself in their demeanor. They lost their cool a bit in game 3 and tonight they just came out flat taking some bad shots and then compounding it by not getting back on defense. Just little things, but very important when you put them all together.

Andrew Thell from EmptyTheBench.com

  • New Orleans needs to be on their best behavior in Game 5 because the San Antonio Basketball Machine has awoken. They have proven not only that they will defend their house, but also that they can dominate in all phases of the game on any given night. If the Hornets aren't careful and let this hangover bleed into Game 5 they could easily be looking at a must-win in San Antonio in Game 6. The Spurs have the edge in experience, leadership and savvy — if they play with more hustle and heart again then the Hornets don't stand a chance.

Slightly more encouraging words from John DeShazier in today's T-P

  • Bottom line: All that has been established with any certainty so far is that neither team has been able to beat the other on its home floor, and if a Game 7 becomes necessary it'll be played where the Hornets are most comfortable.

We'll close it out today with Chris Palmer's story on Chris Andersen in ESPN The Magazine. You really should go read that whole thing. Powerful stuff. Here's a light piece from the article…

  • Fifteen minutes after practice, Andersen pulls up to Hooters, a regular hangout of his. Once inside, a waitress named Shasta with prerequisite 36Cs and the standard-issue Hooters uniform — shimmery orange short shorts and a one-size-too-small, white, low-cut T-shirt — sidles over to take his order.

    "What would you like to drink?" she asks Andersen.

    "Uh," he replies slowly. "Water."

    She heads to the back for our refreshments.

    "All I could think about was milk," quips Andersen. "Freshly squeezed."

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