The Spurs beat the Hornets; series tied at 3-3

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Published: May 16, 2008

Game 7 it is then.

As has been the story all series, the home team came away with the blow out victory tonight. After a great, competitive first half, the third quarter was again the difference as the Spurs outscored our Hornets 20-12 and built up a 15-point lead. Manu Ginobili dropped a couple of threes to open the fourth and pretty much seal the deal, but perhaps the biggest blow came a few seconds later when David West jumped into a blind pick by Robert Horry and re-aggravated that back injury. He collapsed to the floor in pain and had to be helped to the locker room. With the deciding Game 7 not until Monday, here's hoping he'll get the needed rest and be ready for the close out.

Tony Parker vs. Chris Paul

Diving into some notes…

  • Final score was 99-80. Linkage: recap | box score
  • Three main things cost us the game tonight. First was San Antonio's three-point shooting. They were 11-of-21 from deep, with Manu Ginobili connecting on 6-of-9. The majority of those makes were wide open looks, and that was mostly due to excessive double teams on Duncan. I thought we established in Game 5 that Tyson can do a pretty good job guarding Timmy one-on-one, but for whatever reason the Hornets didn't believe in that strategy tonight, and guys like Ginobili and Udoka took advantage of the extra space to line up and knock down the long bombs.
  • Next, we had the fouls. I thought we started off the third quarter really well, playing excellent defense, forcing the Spurs into tough shots and coming up with some steals. We trailed by only five points after Chris Paul hit a runner at the 10:23 mark. Then, in less than two minutes, Chris picked up two fouls and West got three of his own and a technical. The officials got all those calls right save for the one where West was fighting through a pick on the defensive end.

    Anyways, those fouls pretty much killed our defensive intensity. I thought we showed good poise afterwards, with Paul gathering everyone together in a huddle and doing his best to postpone the collapse. But then the Spurs just kept hitting threes and we couldn't convert at the other end.

  • The big reason why we couldn't score at the end of the third quarter were the high and aggressive traps on CP. That was the third key tonight. Well, not so much the traps, because Chris was able to pass the ball out of them pretty good. What killed us was our inability to hit the open shot out of those traps. David West just couldn't drop them, Jannero Pargo was still slumping, and I'm not sure what the hell Peja's excuse was because Bruce Bowen was busy guarding Paul for that stretch.
  • I'm proud of the effort tonight though. The Spurs were hitting everything in that first half but our guys absorbed the punch and were within striking distance at the half. If not for those few dumb fouls we made, it could have been a much different ball game.
  • Aside from those two offensive fouls, Chris was killing the Spurs out there. He was going all out for the win tonight, chasing after rebounds, attacking the basket, and setting up Tyson Chandler beautifully a number of times. I loved that we had him posting up whenever Tony Parker was guarding him. The Spurs had no choice but to send a double team at that, and Chris was able to make them pay with some nice passes out of there

    Chris finished with 21 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 turnovers in 39 minutes. It was also nice to see him up off the bench and advising the reserves during a late timeout in the fourth quarter. Looked like he was already preparing for Game 7.

  • West was definitely limited by that back injury tonight. It was as if the basketball gods were balancing out his immortal performance in Game 5. Gotta give Tim Duncan credit for the defensive job on West tonight though, too. Timmy didn't allow him much room to get the jumper off, then bodied up well on the drives. West ended up forcing quite a few shots, and finished just 4-of-14 from the field, scoring 10 points and grabbing 6 boards in 38 minutes.
  • And about the hit from Horry that put West on the floor and ended his night's work: A lot of you were calling it a dirty play in the comments of the game day thread, but I really don't think it was intentional. In the replay, Horry looks to be already setting that pick before West jumps back up and into him. I wouldn't put such a trick past Horry — we all saw what he did to Steve Nash a year ago after all — but he'd have to be some kind of speedy diabolical genius to see that opportunity to hurt West and be able to act on it so fast and efficiently.
  • Peja was looking good in the first half. He was using the picks really well and throwing some nice misdirection cuts at Bruce Bowen. He got freed up for some shots that way, but also wasn't shy about taking it right at Bowen when they were squared up one-on-one. All that led to 9 points for Peja in the game's first six minutes. He played 30 minutes beyond that, only managing two more points on free throws. I'm still not sure exactly what happened there, especially since Bowen spent a lot of time guarding CP tonight.
  • The bench is killing us in this series. Pargo was 1-of-6 from the field tonight, his only bucket coming in garbage time. Lately he hasn't been making up for his shooting woes with much else either, although his efforts to draw two charges in the first quarter tonight were admirable. Pity the calls went the other way.

    As for Bonzi, his only contributions tonight were three missed shots and two fouls. For a guy who's pretty good at attacking the rim and not known for his jump shoot, he's been staying out of the paint and settling for way too many J's in this series. I expected much more from him given his reputation against the Spurs in the playoffs and his impending free agency.

  • The Spurs kill us when we front Duncan in the post. All through the series, tonight being no exception, they'd run their other big (usually Oberto and his flowing locks) up to the free throw line, have him catch the pass from the wing and deliver it to Duncan at the rim with Chandler now on his back. It's impressive how fast they read that defense and exploit it.
  • Tyson looked pretty good out there considering he had to be helped off the floor with that toe injury on Tuesday. He only finished with 6 rebounds (some of which can be attributed to the Spurs shooting a ridiculous percentage), but he did score 14 points, including a couple of awkward looking hook shots that looked significantly less ugly after they found the bottom of the net. Those 14 points were also the most Tyson has scored in these playoffs.
  • At least now we know that the Hornets can lose even when Ryan isn't on recap duty.

Okay, so back to New Orleans we go for Game 7 on Monday, where our Hornets have dominated the Spurs in this series. Hopefully that trend will continue and we can keep the fun bus rolling into the Conference Finals.

Get well, D-West. We'll need you healthy to get this done.

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