Game 6 Aftermath: Friday News Wrap

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Published: May 16, 2008

Game 6 is done, the Spurs held serve at home, and now we wait for Game 7 on Monday. Lots to get to today with Hornets-Spurs being the only game last night and everyone in the world wanting to weigh in on a certain incident that occurred in the fourth quarter. Buckle up. This might take a while…

So, Horry's hit on David West. Was it an intentional, dirty play? At first I didn't think so but now I'm not so sure anymore. But hey, judge for yourself. Thanks to Page 3, we've got a picture of the precise moment of impact…

Robert Horry hits David West

And we've got moving pictures, too…

David West gets fouled by Robert Horry in Game 6

That animated pic was found over at the SpursTalk.com message board. A lot of the San An fans over there thought the hit was clean, but didn't appreciate the fans chanting Horry's name while West was on the ground in pain. Here's the thoughts of one poster over there…

  • I just wanted to apologize to the Hornets fans on this board who have been respectful for the classless fans at the SBC center who chanted "Horry" when West went down.

    I love hard basketball, and hard fouls are fine. But when someone gets hurt, that's never something to cheer for. Not everyone in SA is like that, and it was embarrassing to me as someone who always points to the Spurs and my city as having a level of class I'm proud to be associated with. That sucked on the part of our fans.

Matt Moore echoes similar sentiments over at FanHouse

  • Last night, after Robert Horry's "completely clean, incidental, and admirably 'playoff-level'" whack to the injured back of David West, which sent the New Orleans star to the locker room and may affect his appearance in Game 7, a funny little sound started to come from the arena. Slowly it grew louder and louder.

    "Horry! Horry! Horry!"

    That's right. After a player delivered a forearm that knocked an opponent out of the game with what was obviously a pretty painful back injury, the San Antonio fans decided to chant Cheap Shot Bob's name.

    Now that's class.

At The Hive

  • I believe it was totally 100% intentional. I believe it was a malicious play. I don't care that Mark Jackson called it a "playoff foul." Answer me this- what reason did Horry have to push West in the back as he was backpedalling? One, West was totally out of position, stumbling backwards. Two, Horry had the inside offensive possession to the hoop. Three, there was no way he was setting a screen, because the guard had already gotten past his defender and Horry and West were a good distance from the play. Spurs fans have been calling the Hornets "classless." Tell your "7 time NBA Champion" to exhibit some class before ever speaking on the subject again. Horry knew about West's severe back pain. He knew West was totally out of the play defensively. After this game, I know that Robert Horry is a classless individual.

Basketbawful

  • Horry measured West and gave him a shot right in the lower back. Horry knew West's back was injured. Everybody knew West's back was injured. It was a textbook example of a cheap shot. Look, I've played a lot of basketball over the years, both organized and not-so-organized. Stuff like that doesn't happen by accident. It just doesn't. And if you think otherwise, then you're fooling yourself. Horry measured West and gave him a really hard — and clearly illegal, since it resulted in an offensive foul — shot into a part of West's body that was known to be injured. Did Horry intend to take West out of the game, or even incapacitate him for Game 7? Probably not. But that barely makes the act any less senseless. And whether he meant for it to happen or not, there's a pretty good likelihood that West will be far from 100 percent for Game 7. Which is a pretty good tradeoff for a simple offensive foul, isn't it? And for those of you who are inevitably going to defend Mr. Cheap Shot, go ahead and answer this question in your defense: How would you react if you were playing pickup basketball and somebody purposely took a shot at your injured back/knee/ankle/whatever? Would you laugh it off as just a good, hard basketball play? Or would you want to strangle the guy?

Hardwood Paroxysm

  • If it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, and sounds like a rat, then you don't need to make excuses about it acting like a tough hedgehog, or whatever else Mark Jackson wants to say. It's a rat. Call it that.

Buck Harvey tackles the subject in the San Antonio Express-News, comparing the incident to Horry's hit on Steve Nash a year ago…

  • Tyson Chandler summed up the mood of the locker room when asked if Horry's blow had been intended for someone already with a bad back. Chandler admitted to not seeing the play, but Horry's presence confirmed the worst. "I wouldn't doubt it," Chandler said.

    They were angrier when the crowd chanted Horry's name about that time, with West on the ground and in pain, and the Hornets had every reason to be angry. Horry deserved to have his name chanted at some point, considering Thursday could have been his last game in San Antonio. But not then.

    For Horry, all of it added to his reputation. But just as it's unlikely to think he knew he could persuade a few Suns to walk off the bench and into suspensions, isn't it as implausible to believe he targeted West at his medical weakness and tried to injure him?

    No one will give him this benefit of the doubt. There's the connection, after all.

Jim Eichenhofer addresses the incident in the comments of his game recap over at Hornets.com

  • What in the world were the ESPN guys trying to say when they broke down what happened on that Horry/West play?

    I really like Jeff Van Gundy's commentary – partly because he makes random references to upstate New York, where he played college ball at "legendary" Nazareth College – but he responded to that Horry incident by saying that Horry "makes winning plays" and "does the little things."

    Huh? What do winning plays and the little things have to do with drilling someone from behind like that? Not to mention the fact that if you watch the play, there was no legitimate basketball reason to set a pick there. How many times does a defensive player get blindside picked in that area of the floor?

Mike Monroe gives us the reactions from West and Coach Scott

  • "I haven't seen it (film of the play)," West said. "I'll wait until I see it. I don't know if it was a blind screen or whatever, but I just took a good shot in the back."

    Said Hornets coach Byron Scott, "He took a good shot in the back. It's a good thing Game 7 is on Monday. It gives him a good chance to get well."

Also from that last link…

  • Before Game 6 [Scott] visited the trophy case at the AT&T Center where the Spurs' four Larry O'Brien trophies are displayed.

    The Spurs, he said, are the team of the decade.

    "Since I've been here, that was the one team I looked at," he said, "the one organization that I looked and said, 'This is what we're trying to emulate and trying to get to.'

    "Every year you try to get closer and closer, obviously, and so, yeah, I admire what Pop has done with this team and the way Tim Duncan is, on and off the court, and the other pieces that they've brought in here to complement those guys and to develop a championship type team and that's what we're trying to do."

Back to the Horry hit, and Adrian Wojnarowski has fresh reactions over at Yahoo! Sports

  • "I'm not real OK with it," Scott told Yahoo! Sports. "But if I didn't know Robert on a personal level, I'd say that was a dirty shot. Yeah, if I didn't know him the way I know him, I'd say it was a cheap shot."

    Yes, he always liked Horry, but no one could convince Scott that West wasn’t a victim of a desperate shot by a desperate champion. The Hornets had been destroyed 99-80 in Game 6 on Thursday night, and still Scott and his players seethed over the blindsided screen Horry had leveled on West and his bad back.

    "I also think he understood what he was doing," Scott said.

  • No one was angrier than Paul, who asked a Hornets official in the locker room: Did you hear that? As Paul walked down the corridors late Thursday, the crowd's voice promised to stay on his mind. "When David got hurt, you're going to chant for Robert Horry like he did a good thing?"
  • "I'll just say he caught me with a good shot," West said.

    If Horry was trying to knock you out of Monday night, did it work?

    "No… no," West assured. "It wasn't that good of a shot."

From the game recap over at 48 Minutes of Hell

  • I don't know how to react to this game. Traditionally, if the Spurs were to blow a team out by 20 in a do-or-die game 6, I'd be ecstatic. I'd be praising our tenacity on the offensive glass. I'd brag about the hailstorm of 3-pointers that just poured on the Hornets. I'd make some dubious claims about "momentum." But this series has just been too schizophrenic to display that level of confidence. Yes, obviously I'm excited. Obviously I think, despite the lopsided victories every home team has recorded this series, that the Spurs can go into New Orleans and take game 7. But I sat there this evening watching this game with a look of passivity and bemusement, rather than exuberance, because, to be honest, I don't know what to expect. How could anyone? This series does not make sense.

Via Tom Planchet: Some dude by the name of Gregg Doyel from CBSCports.com blasts the Hornets Game 6 performance

  • It was the Hornets who swallowed their own tongue.

    New Orleans point guard Chris Paul, the playoff MVP entering Thursday night, played with a bizarre chip on his shoulder — mouthing off to various Spurs, forcing contact all over the court and then flopping like a boated fish. The officials caved in at first, protecting him like he was Michael Jordan or LeBron James, but by the third quarter, Paul was on his own.

Today's must-read comes from Henry Abbot over at TrueHoop, who had a lengthy article yesterday discussing Chris Paul's defense

  • Paul really never bothers Parker's shots. Even when he can close the massive gap, he's sometimes still so far from the ball that he doesn't even bother to put his arms up.
  • He just doesn't get out there to bother shots, even against great shooters.

    The Spurs have obliged by missing a ton of wide open looks in many of their games. But the open three-pointers are there, and they are there in large part because of a combination of a clog-the-paint defensive philosophy, and Paul's lack of size.

    Here he surely hurts his team.

Elias says

  • [This is] the first series in NBA playoff history in which the home team has won each of the first six games by margins of 10-or-more points.

Great analysis as usual from X's and O's, as they break down the Spurs pick-and-roll traps last night (complete with video)…

  • They hadn't really trapped Paul all series, and all of a sudden in the 3rd quarter in Game 6 they decide to trap Paul on the PNR and it got the Hornets out of sync. Paul passed out of the trap and his teammates were often dumbfounded as to what to do. The indecision of the other players really hurt the Hornets in that fateful 3rd quarter.

In the Express-News, Mike Monroe notes the significant contributions by Ime Udoka at both ends of the floor last night…

  • Udoka's ability to hold Stojakovic in check in the second half allowed Bowen to spent more time defending Hornets point guard Chris Paul. Indeed, Udoka's ability to handle bigger forwards was the biggest reason the Spurs signed him as a free agent last summer.

    What nobody expected was that Udoka would become the Spurs' most consistent scorer off the bench in this series after Spurs coach Gregg Popovich put Manu Ginobili back in the starting lineup after Game 2.

In the Times-Picayune, John Reid gives us words from Byron Scott

  • "Tonight wasn't pretty," Coach Byron Scott said. "You have to give them a lot of credit. If I could figure it out how homecourt has helped so much, because the thing is if I could bottle it up and sell it to every team in the league."

John Schuhmann was live blogging again, and found the Hornets lineup to be a little strange at the start of the fourth quarter…

  • Interesting decision from Byron Scott: After Chris Paul played all but three seconds of the first three quarters, he began the fourth on the bench, with Mike James on the floor. It was almost as if Scott was giving up when his team was down 15 with 12 minutes to go.

From Marc Stein's recap over at ESPN.com…

  • With memories of West's 38-point, 14-rebound, five-block masterpiece in Game 5 still fresh, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made a concession he had hoped to avoid by starting Fabricio Oberto over Kurt Thomas and installing Duncan as his primary West defender. The result: West never looked comfortable, even in the first two quarters, while Duncan amassed 20 points, 15 boards and a team-best six assists to highlight San Antonio's superior ball sharing and complement the nine triples pumped in by Ginobili (25 points) and Ime Udoka (13).

    Said Popovich: "Things went our way tonight, that's for sure."

In the Times-Picayune, Jeff Duncan also has reservations about Coach Scott

  • You've got to love Scott's cool demeanor, but it wouldn't have hurt him to take a "T" for the team during the third-quarter meltdown, when the Hornets were the victims of several questionable calls. His young team clearly lost its cool during that critical stretch, and Scott needed to do something — anything — to shake his players out of it.

Also in today's T-P, here's Dan McCarney's words regarding Tim Duncan's defensive job on David West

  • It was simple, fundamental defense that did the job. When West tried to isolate, Duncan moved his feet and kept West from driving to the basket. When West pulled up for a mid-range jumper, Duncan got a hand in his face.

    No highlight-reel blocks, no flashy steals. In other words, typical Duncan.

    "He played great," Spurs guard Tony Parker said. "We did a much better job guarding him, not giving him anything easy."

  • "Timmy did a good job defensively," Popovich said. "David didn't shoot it very well tonight. Sometimes that happens. It was a combination of that and Timmy playing well."

Dime magazine on the ESPN coverage of Game 6…

  • At one point Jeff Van Gundy said what most people in America seem to think: that Chris Paul is making Tyson Chandler's career. That's such a misconception that needs to be cleared up. Does Chandler get the vast majority of his 8 to 10 points every night via CP setting him up? Definitely, and you can give Paul all the credit in the world for that. But Tyson doesn't make his money by scoring, he makes it by rebounding and playing D. Chris Paul isn't helping Chandler grab 10-12 rebounds a night, nor is he playing any part in Chandler's stellar defense. It's like saying Isiah Thomas or Michael Jordan made Dennis Rodman, when those two weren't directly responsible for any of Worm's mastery on the glass or aggravating defense

In the Express-News, Mike Finger points out that these Spurs have bundles of Game 7 experience and these Hornets have none. He also writes about the foul calls in the third quarter…

  • It was no surprise that on Thursday, when things started getting chippy and the season hung in the balance, it was the Spurs who looked like they'd been there before. West would say later that he thought the New Orleans Hornets "lost our cool," and he was including himself in that summation. After he was charged with three fouls in the span of a minute, he reacted like Gregg Popovich getting a delay-of-game warning.

    Popovich, for his part, was cooler on this night, and watching his team get a few calls probably helped. But even before the game, he appeared as relaxed as he had all series, and that was at least partly because he knew the pressure of an elimination game was something his team was almost certain to thrive on.

David Gladlow's thoughts at NOLA.com…

  • Blame the refs all you want (and a series of awful calls in the third quarter DID seem to change the momentum of the game), but the game of basketball is won by shooting, passing, and defending, and the Hornets did none of the three particularly well in Game 6. The Hornets shot just .413 from the field, surrendered .494 shooting to the Spurs (including .524 from three-point range) and lost the assist battle in a big way, 28-13. You can't win doing that. Period.

David Schexnaydre Jr. also has game notes over at NOLA.com. Here's his take…

  • While the loss didn't surprise me, there were a few things that did. I certainly didn't expect the see the worst 4 minute stretch of the season to start the 3rd quarter. I also didn't think I'd see David West let his emotions get the best of him. And while I knew that our players had a penchant for talking to the officials a bit too much, I didn't think I'd see them complaining to the point that I wouldn't have been surprised to see Dirk Nowitzki sitting behind the bench, smiling in admiration. If ever the Hornets youth and inexperience was ever relevent, it was last night.

Quotes from Duncan and Popovich, courtesy of Jeff McDonald…

  • "We're happy to go back to their gym, and we think we’re a pretty good road team," Duncan said. "We're going to do our best to make a better game of it."

    Popovich, who won his 99th postseason game to match Red Auerbach for fourth on the NBA's all-time list, has known this kind of pressure before.

    On the golf course.

    "I can visibly see my hands shake when I'm trying to make a two-footer for a Budweiser," Popovich cracked.

Bits and pieces from Elizabeth White's article in the Shreveport Times

  • The aging defending champions and the injured Hornets now get three days of rest before playing Game 7.

    "I have confidence," Parker said. "We've won a lot of big games on the road."

    Despite the closeness of the series, Game 6, like the five before it, was won by double digits. It was also won, like those before it, in the third quarter, when the Spurs outscored the Hornets 20-12.

    "I don't know what to say," Paul said. "That third quarter was ugly."

  • "Thank God we get to go back to New Orleans for Game 7," Paul said.

Chris Colston's article in USA Today reveals how the players are feeling about Game 7

  • Duncan pooh-poohed his team's playoff experience advantage.

    "I'm not giving any credit to it," he said. "We haven't won in their house. We've gotten blown out every time.

    "But we believe we're a good road team. We hope to make a game of it."

    Point guard Tony Parker agreed. "So far (our experience) hasn't helped us that much," he said. "The games have all been blowouts… If we can't keep it close, our experience can't help us. If we can keep it close, it will help us."

  • "We'll definitely get some rest," Paul said. "But coming from our locker room, we wish the game was tomorrow.

    "We're not going to stress out the next three or four days. We'll watch the Lakers-Jazz game and just sit patiently and wait till Monday."

  • "The fans know it's 3-3, and they'll be ready," Paul said. "The city will be ready. I'm excited. This is what the NBA is all about. Everybody will be tuned in."

John DeShazier looks ahead to Monday's deciding game…

  • The Hornets already have made a name for themselves in this series, now deadlocked at three games each. They already have pushed San Antonio farther than most thought the Spurs could be pushed by a team that has less playoff experience as a unit than the Spurs had last season in their title run.

    But Monday night's game is an opportunity for the Hornets to etch their name even deeper in New Orleans basketball lore. The Hornets, who have advanced farther into the postseason than any NBA team in New Orleans, have an excellent chance to top what they've done. So far during the playoffs, they've been unbeatable at home.

Let's finish it out with the usual flurry…

That'll do it. Let's all go outside and play.

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