Game 5 Aftermath: Wednesday News Wrap

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Published: May 14, 2008

The Hornets took Game 5 at the Hive last night, securing a 3-2 series lead and putting the defending champion Spurs on the brink of elimination. Today, they had to delete all the porn off the internet so everyone would have room to talk about it. Here's what I found…

We'll open it up with words from Jim Eichenhofer's recap at The Official…

  • Over the two days prior to Game 5, everyone had spent countless hours analyzing what was wrong with the Hornets. A common line of thinking was that after Games 3 and 4, the Spurs had "figured out" the Hornets. That San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich had finally come up with a scheme that would solve New Orleans and send the upstart Hornets packing on summer vacation. That the defending NBA champions were poised to show a team that hadn't been in the postseason since 2004 how it's done in the biggest games.

    So much for that idea.

Over at NBA.com, John Schuhmann tells how the Hornets did it

  • They kept Tim Duncan from getting comfortable in the post, but they didn't leave themselves vulnerable on the perimeter in doing so. And they kept Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili out of the paint. There were some minor adjustments made, but it was more about the Hornets' energy than their strategy, especially in the third quarter, which has now decided four of the five games in this series.

John DeShazier gets hyped in the Times-Picayune…

  • What we didn't see coming — what Nostradamus couldn't have seen coming — was New Orleans beating San Antonio at San Antonio's game. What we couldn't have expected to transpire, after the Hornets were smacked around in San Antonio, was for the Spurs to lure the Hornets into a bump-and-grind affair and then be out-bumped and out-grinded by a team that has more grit than it's given credit for, one that has stood toe-to-toe with the champs and continues to answer the bell.

    These Hornets, improbably to most but not surprising to themselves, now stand one victory from advancing to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history.

John Hollinger writes about the Hornets huge third quarters at home during the series…

  • In the first, second and fourth quarters in the three games in New Orleans, the score is relatively even, with New Orleans holding just a 12-point advantage

    And in the third quarters? Would you believe Hornets 93, Spurs 46? No, that's not a misprint — New Orleans has doubled up the defending champs after the break. It's as though a different Spurs team comes out in the third quarter, one that can't get out of its own way offensively but has no problem getting out of Chris Paul's way at the other end.

    "What upsets me, and I think the whole team, is that we made the same mistake again," said Manu Ginobili. "Third quarter we were not ready, we stopped moving the ball, stopped attacking. Of course we give them credit, they were good. But there's no way we can do that again."

From the AP game recap, here's Morris Peterson's assessment of David West's performance

  • "He wasn't 100 percent, but we couldn't tell. He was a beast out there," Hornets guard Morris Peterson said. "He played probably the best game of his career. His back was a little sore today, and I think it was carrying us so much during this game. He had us on his back all day."

In the Express-News, Jeff McDonald notes that West was just a point away from tying Glen Rice's playoff scoring record…

  • With 1:45 to go, Scott pulled West from the game, affording his All-Star forward a chance to rest and ice his balky back.

    Neither cared much about history: At that point, West stood a single point from matching a franchise scoring high for the postseason.

    "I'm just happy we had control of the game," West said. "I was ready to sit down."

    West played nearly 44 minutes in pain for one obvious reason.

    "No way we wanted to go back to San Antonio with them having the opportunity to close us out," West said.

Buck Harvey moves on from his Chris Paul rage theory and compliments David West

  • Then came the sequence that summed up the evening. West drove on Duncan, coming under the basket and beating him to the other side of the rim for the score. Jogging back on defense, West appeared to favor his back.

    He got over it. Duncan went at him — and West blocked his shot. From that point, the Spurs never challenged again, and West would end with 38 points.

    Wasn't that what Duncan was supposed to have done?

Over at Yahoo! Sports, Adrian Wojnarowski has an article dedicated to West, who was seething after his poor performance in Game 4…

  • "When he plays bad, he takes it real personal," Scott said. "He goes within himself and really starts to think about what he has to do for the next game. I love that about him. It took me a year or so to kind of realize that from a personality standpoint, thinking about what he didn’t do, and what he has to do next.

    "There were times, though, where I wondered to myself: What is he pissed off at now?"

They're almost speechless over at Hornets Hype

  • I really don't know how to even talk about David West last night. Should we just have a moment of silence? I'm sitting in the arena with two Spurs fans in front of me and an elderly lady to my left, and I knew it probably wasn't the best place in which to be yelling, "D WEST MOTHAF*@KAS!!!" at the top of my voice. But it just slipped out… like 6 or 8 times. And then to find out he was injured half the game.

Gregg Popovich got T'd up at the end of the first quarter last night for arguing a delay-of-game call. Mike Monroe explains what led to the whistle…

  • Two Hornets could not decide on which side of the foul lane to position themselves, and with Spurs players changing up, accordingly, Crawford whistled both sides.

That led to a heated exchange between referee Joey Crawford and Gregg Popovich, with the latter having to be restrained by his players and staff. Here's what the Spurs coach had to say about the incident afterwards…

  • "I believe the official was incorrect. We've gone through this before a couple of years ago in our Sacramento series, and it happened to be with Bonzi (Wells). The team that's shooting the free throw has to make the first choice about where they're gong to be placed. So the delay of game should be on that team, not on both."

Let's quickly jump back to those articles from John Hollinger and Buck Harvey that I linked to up above…

  • Harvey: Popovich's outrage was over the most benign of calls. Officials call delays every game, and little ever comes of them. Was this worth the effort?

    It was fitting of the evening. The Spurs complained more than they usually do, and maybe they were caught up with Crawford's presence and were distracted by that.

  • Hollinger: The Spurs' issues with this particular referee once again seem very much alive, and it seemed to spread to the other players — San Antonio invested a lot of time lobbying for calls.

    "I think we got worried about the refs way too much," said Ginobili. "We've just got to let Pop do that. That's his job."

WWL's Bradley Handwerger on the Eva Longoria thing

  • You can't say New Orleanians aren't creative.

    Spurs guard Tony Parker is married to TV star and attractive woman Eva Longoria. And one of the brilliant New Orleans fans brought in a life-sized poster of her to the game. When Parker shot free throws, Eva danced.

    He missed both.

    And when San Antonio called timeout, the Hornets' Hilton Armstrong gave the fans five.

    And then officials took her away. But it was good while it lasted.

(Note: Pretty much everyone is saying the stunt was hilarious and not a step too far. Okay then, I'll shut up now.)

Good ol' Charey Rosen comments on the rough stuff in Game 5…

  • This was certainly a hard-hitting contest with the Hornets achieving a much higher slugging percentage than the visiting Spurs.

    Because their shots weren't falling, the Spurs concentrated on driving the ball to the hoop, yet they were awarded only 18 free throws (one of which was created by a deliberate ploy in the endgame so that Scott could get his scrubs into the game) compared to 33 by the Hornets. Despite both Duncan (one free throw) and Parker (five FTs) being routinely bumped, hacked and downright clobbered, the refs mostly sucked on their whistles until the Hornets had the ball.

    It's called the home-court advantage.

A few snippets from James Varney's article in the T-P…

  • One odd thing about the Hornets/Spurs series to date: The games haven't been close. Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich said he can't explain why one team — the home team — has won big in the first four games.

    "I've seen a little bit of everything, and I don't have any rhyme or reason as to why games aren't close," he said. "Just in general, one would think with two good teams playing the games would have been closer than they have been."

  • NBA coaches are generally known to be natty dressers, and Popovich came to the New Orleans Arena for Game 5 with two ties. The gold or yellow cravat would be a game-time decision, he said, because this time it was left to him.

    "My wife went out and grabbed a burger, so she wasn't around to tell me which tie to wear, and I brought both," he said.

Mike Finger writes about the solid defensive effort by the Hornets in Game 5…

  • As Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pointed out, it wasn't just the Hornets' offense that enabled them to pull away. They hounded Tony Parker and Tim Duncan into bad shots throughout the night, but especially in the third quarter, when the Spurs shot 5 for 19 (26.3 percent).

    "Their defense was the reason we had so many problems in the third quarter," Popovich said. "They deserve credit for that."

48 Minutes of Hell on Tony Parker's performance last night…

  • I knew it. From the minute he gave us two fearless, aggressive games in a row, I knew it. Parker can get to the rim whenever he wants. He can get open mid-range shots whenever he wants. What happens is, sometimes that isn't what he wants. He can paradoxically be our bravest player and our most timid player. He continually refrained from taking his mid-range shots, while also not consistently taking it to the hole (or worse, realizing he hadn't been taking it to the hole, and then forcing it into the lane). He will lead us to dominance or doom. More than anyone else on that floor, I believe his play will lead us.

Bits and pieces from a bunch of notes in the Baton Rouge Advocate

  • Hornets coach Byron Scott said it's hard to figure out why homecourt advantage has been so pronounced in the conference semifinals, in which only one road team had won entering Tuesday's games.

    "The court is 94 feet," Scott said. "The dimensions are all the same. The colors are little bit different maybe, but other than that it shouldn’t be that big of a difference, but it is. For whatever reason it is, and I don't know if it's the teams and the players that are playing at home feel a lot more comfortable or they're more confident. I don't know what it is."

  • Scott was asked if stopping Duncan was like cutting off the head of the Spurs' snake. "They got one of those two- or three-headed snakes," he said. "I don't think there's just one head on that snake. It's like one of those Sinbad movies, they got one of those snakes with three heads. Maybe you cut off the middle one."
  • Among those in attendance were Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade, Chef Emeril Lagasse, and Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who autographed a football and hurled it from courtside to a woman who made a sticky-fingered catch in the upper deck. "The catch was a lot better than the throw," a smiling Brees joked.

Also from the Advocate, Sheldon Mickles tells us that David West was focused ahead of Game 5

  • An hour before tipoff of Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal series between the New Orleans Hornets and San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night, a TV set in the Hornets' locker room was tuned in to a replay of Game 4…

    "This is about the third or fourth time I've watched it," admitted West, the Hornets' All-Star forward. "It's not too hard to watch. Every time I watch, I see something we can change and possibly do a little bit better."

John Reid has words from West and Chandler regarding their respective injuries…

  • "I landed funny, and I kind of lost feeling in it," Chandler said. "But I'll be fine."
  • "It just got stiff and tightened up on me in the second quarter, but before the game it was pretty loose," West said.

Tim Duncan quoted in USA Today…

  • "They did a great job of crowding the lane and getting back to our shooters," Duncan said. "They were very physical in the post. I didn't shoot the ball very well and they used those opportunities to run right back at us."

Ahead of yesterday's game, the official site of Tyson Chandler had some numbers to illustrate how the Hornets fare when he's playing well…

  • In the 57 games (including the postseason) that Tyson has gone for at least 10 rebounds, the Hornets are 46-11. The game's premier offensive rebounder, Ty averaged just over four offensive boards a game. When he's gone for at least four boards on the offensive glass, the Hornets are an outstanding 39-10.

    But the area of Ty's game that has really improved is the offensive end of the floor, where he has become a double-double machine. When No. 6 goes for double figures in both points and rebounds, the Hornets are an astounding 36-4.

Gregg Popovich's reaction on hearing that David Stern wants to cut down on the noise and pyrotechnics at NBA games…

  • "In general, every time I'm in a place where they do pyrotechnics," he said, "I tell myself there's going to be an accident.

    "It's like a stop sign that doesn't get put up until a kid gets killed. You say, 'This is a dangerous corner,' and nothing gets done about it until a kid gets killed, and you see a stop sign a week later."

From the Elias box over at ESPN's Hornets page

  • The Hornets have defeated the Spurs by margins of 19, 18, and 22 points. Over the last 12 seasons, only one team defeated San Antonio by at least 18 points even twice in the same playoff series: the Lakers, with wins by 39 and 29 points in the 2001 Western Conference Finals.

Henry Abbott has some Game 5 thoughts over on TrueHoop. Here's a couple of them…

  • Early in the game the Hornets were clearly determined to get Peja Stojakovic going. Stojakovic has been a non-factor ever since the Spurs switched Bruce Bowen onto him to start Game 3. Here's why I hated what the Hornets were doing: Stojakovic is at his best when the team creates scoring opportunities for him, not when he's creating his own. And now you're asking him to do something he's only okay at — create with the ball — against the best defense he ever faces. It didn't work, and I'm glad the Hornets gave up and eventually resolved to get to the players with efficient matchups, like David West.
  • Byron Scott is very timid with Tyson Chandler in the first half, and when Chandler sits with a foul or two, the Hornets lose a ton. Chandler is always on the floor, however, to start the second half, and last night he was pretty effective guarding Tim Duncan one-on-one after the break. I wonder if anyone knows where we can see who was on the floor for the Hornets biggest runs of the playoffs. I bet Chandler is as much a mainstay as Paul.

From Ralph Malbrough over at WWLTV.com

  • Both West and Chandler say they'll be fine for Game 6 but in a post-game interview Chandler acknowledged he won't be able to walk on his injured foot tonight.

    I'm no doctor but that can't be good.

NOLA.com's David Schexnaydre Jr. was at the Arena last night and he's got a bunch of game notes. Here's one…

  • The game tonight was longer than usual. It was after midnight before I got home and I didn't even have traffic. I fully blame Tony Parker for this. If you add up all the time he spent on the ground he probably added 20 minutes to the game. Every time he was fouled he would just lay on the ground. I understand he took some physical abuse but come on. Get up. Don't just lay there.

Let's finish it out with the usual bullets…

Fingers bleeding. Must stop copy-and-pasting.

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