Hornets-Spurs: Saturday News Wrap

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Published: May 17, 2008

Typical: I have more time to do this stuff on the weekends but then there's not as much to link up. Screw you, world.

We'll start off with the Horry/West stuff again. Mike Monroe and Mike Finger team up in the San Antonio Express-News to tell us that the NBA has reviewed Horry's hit and deemed it routine. There's also some quotes in that story about West's struggles prior to getting hit, and Tyson Chandler's thoughts on the five quick fouls called on the Hornets in the third quarter…

  • "I was a little tentative," West said. "I didn't want to overextend anything. But I just missed shots. Wide-open shots."

    West said the injury he suffered on the Horry screen wasn't serious, and that he will be ready to play in Game 7. His teammates said they expected nothing less.

    "D-West is a fighter," Paul said. "He's going to come back from this. Luckily, we have about a week before Game 7, so we can get some rest."

  • "We really caught a tough break during the third quarter with some bad calls that didn't go our way," Hornets center Tyson Chandler said. "I feel that foul calls really stole the momentum of the third quarter and gave the Spurs an advantage."

The opening few paragraphs from Jeff Duncan in today's Times-Picayune

  • The Hornets expect David West to play in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinals playoff series against San Antonio on Monday night at the New Orleans Arena, but how effective the All-Star forward will be remains unclear.

    A day after the Spurs' 99-80 drubbing of the Hornets in Game 6 in San Antonio, West received treatment on his injured back and will be "good to go" for the decisive game Monday night, Hornets spokesman Dennis Rogers said.

    The rest of the Hornets were given Friday off, as Coach Byron Scott canceled practice to allow his troops time to rest and heal. The team will return to practice this morning at the Arena.

Also has a good quote at that last link from Tyson Chandler, who expects a different result in Game 7…

  • "It's going to be very different in New Orleans," Chandler said. "The Spurs are going to walk into a sea of yelling and gold Monday night."

(It should be noted that Hornets fans will actually be given white Fan Up t-shirts ahead of Monday's game. So it should be more like a sea of yelling and white.)

Also in the T-P, John DeShazier is expecting the Hornets to win Game 7 unless the likes of David Robinson or George Gervin suit up for the Spurs. Here's a snippet…

  • [The Hornets] can lean on this: There's not much more for the Spurs to turn to, other than the hope that big-game experience will win out. And so far, that hasn't worked out so well.

    Popovich has used four different starting lineups in six games. True, the Spurs have played together for so long they know each other well enough for the effect to not be adverse. And all of the players involved have started before; it's not as if Popovich is asking a 10-day contract player to guard David West.

    But, too, it's just as obvious that the Hornets have forced all of the adjustments. Teams don't change just for the sake of change, if they're winning. What the Spurs had hoped would be good enough hasn't been — at least, not enough to give San Antonio a lead in the series.

    That fact still will stand after Monday night.

Over at ESPN.com, John Hollinger hands out some playoff awards. Chris Paul, David West and Robert Horry are among the winners. Here are some relevant excerpts…

  • [Chris Paul has] turned it over on only 4.8 percent of his possessions in the playoffs. That, my friends, is insane — not even stand-still jump shooters can get their turnover rate that low, much less a guy asked to create something on nearly every trip. As a result, the Hornets have the lowest turnover rate of any playoff team.
  • For the playoffs, [West is] averaging 21.3 points, 8.0 boards and 2.0 blocks while shooting 47.0 percent from the floor, and it's finally getting him some national recognition. While West made the All-Star team this year, he wasn't a well-known commodity a few weeks ago but his ability to mix midrange jumpers with low-post moves has made him a potent scoring threat. Should the Hornets win Monday and advance to their first conference finals, the recognition will only increase.
  • New Orleans should call the league and beg it not to suspend Horry. The Spurs have been playing him mainly out of loyalty, and he's been absolutely killing them at both ends; in fact, about the only thing he's done well is intentionally foul Tyson Chandler at the end of quarters. Taking Horry off the court for Game 7 is the best favor the league could ever do for the Spurs.

    And while the Hornets seethe over Horry's shot on West, here's a question: Why on earth was West out there, down 21 in the fourth with a bad back that the Hornets desperately need to get better by Monday? Byron Scott was killed for pulling his starters early in Game 4 of the 2002 Finals; ironically, it now seems he might have erred by waiting too long.

Great article on Ime Udoka today by Jeff McDonald in the Express-News. Here's McDonald describing Udoka's involvement in a melee while playing in Africa for the Nigerian national team…

  • At one point, the 6-foot-5 Udoka — in a move more Jackie Chan than Jerry West — had to flatten a guy.

    At some point, Udoka lost his shoes.

    "It was crazy," Udoka said. "It was not only players, but fans. There were chairs flying everywhere. I'm big — we were all big guys — but they outnumbered us."

Mike Monroe has quotes from Manu Ginobili as he tries to figure out the big third quarters and gets ready for Game 7 in New Orleans…

  • "It's going to be a really tough one for us," he said, "but we're going to try to change this trend and play our best game in their building. We know we can do it. We've done it in the past. Every playoff run that we win, it was done on the road. We're going to try and give it everything we can.

    "Going to a seventh game always means that the two teams are really close. I think sometimes it's going to end up being decided by an offensive rebound, a turnover, a missed shot. At this point we know we are very close. We are two great teams. So, hopefully, it will end up being for us."

Fantastic job by At The Hive, as they team up with Spurs/NBA blog 48 Minutes of Hell to figure out if the officiating was fair in Game 6. That whole post is a must-read, so get your ass over there. Here's a few pieces…

  • Both of us counted up the number of "gracious" foul calls each team received (i.e., questionable charge/blocks, touch fouls, etc.) and compared our tallies.

    At the end, I counted a mere three calls that went against the Spurs that shouldn't have, and just three that went against the Hornets that shouldn't have.

  • Graydon noticed a few more poor calls than I did (10 total) and scored it 6-4 in favor of the Hornets.
  • The final verdict: I think we both agree that this was a decently officiated game. The Spurs won Game 6 fair and square, thanks to some hot shooting and great defense on D. West.

Hornets Hype explains the difference between Spurs fans cheering for Horry after he hit David West in Game 6, and Hornets fans booing Bruce Bowen when he finally got up after being hit by Bonzi Wells in Game 1…

  • Consider that when Bowen finally got up, he looked perfectly fine. He showed no later effect from the play. So some reporter asked Bowen about the incident after the game, and he had this to say: "I just want to be sure that the officials can see what's really going on." In other words, he faked it to make sure he got the call.

A random dude over at Bleacher Report says the New Orleans Hornets have the seventh-worst fans in all of sports

  • Ok, so maybe this isn't fair to put them here because of how down the whole area is still after what took place with Katrina but when you're team is challenging for an NBA title and can still only manage 26th in avg. Home attendance then there is a serious problem. Especially when the Saints sell out every home game across the street at the Super Dome. Maybe New Orleans isn't a basketball city, thats fine but when the NBA hands you a team because of poor attendance in the previous city you owe it to the league to show up to the games, not wait till the playoffs to jump on the bandwagon and wear your yellow t-shirts that they hand out and make it look like you have been there all season.

The infamous Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman thinks OKC should have a "Hornets Day" to celebrate the team's success this season…

  • Picture this: Byron Scott, Chris Paul, David West and Co. come to town with their hardware, maybe the trophy given to the Western Conference champion or even the one given to the NBA champ. They say a few words and sign autographs for an hour or so.

    But wait, there's more. Fans must buy a ticket to get in, and all the money raised will go to the victims of the Picher tornado. Heck, you could even split the proceeds between one in our state and one in Louisiana.

Lots of quick-hittey stuff to finish it out today…

And that will do it. I might go get me some ice cream.

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