Spurs-Hornets: Series Notes

Published: May 17, 2008

This game was actually not in keeping with the rest of the series.  Yes, I know the final score looks the same, and yes, I know it seems like the Hornets had one big meltdown in the third and that cost us the game, but it's actually not an accurate representation of what happened.  Unlike the previous games, both sides had multiple series of errors through the first and second quarters.  The Hornets had two 7-posession sets that netted them nothing, and the Spurs had a six and an eight posession set that netted them two total points.  As I had mentioned earlier, that's unusual for the series – both teams were obviously really focused on the defensive end.

In the third, yes, the Hornets had a meltdown, but it wasn't when everyone thought it was.  That whole exchange where the Hornets were hit with five personals and a technical in the third?  It resulted in a whopping two points for the Spurs.  Two.  We were down 7 at the end of it.  The Meltdown occured with 4:43 to go: Peja miss, Duncan block, West miss, Paul miss, Pargo miss, West miss, Pargo miss, Udoka block, Paul miss.  Nine posessions.  No points.  Game.

I saw several writers – particularly San Antonio beat writers, who acted like Duncan had just shut West down on defense, putting on a clinic of fundamental defense.  Really?  Go watch the tape.  Duncan's incredible defense consisted of five plays where he was within five feet of David West.  The rest of the time, he gave West wide open shots.  West didn't hit them.  That's not stellar defense, that's gambling on West's injury and the inconstistent nature of the jumpshot.

One other thing about West.  Yes, he only shot 4-14.  Guess what?  That's better than he's shot in two other games in this series.  Game 2: 2-11.  Game 4: 4-15.  In between he's shot 39-67, or 58%.  Like I said before, his good games alternate with his bad games.  Game 7 will be interesting to watch.

Something I want to rip the pundits about.  As soon as I see the words "The young Hornets lost their composure", I stop reading, because the writer is just regurgitating incorrect facts.  Let me count the ways:

  • The Hornets starting five averages 27.4 years of age.  The Lakers and Celtics average 28, Jazz 25, Cavaliers 27, and Magic 26.  The Pistons and Spurs average 31.  So the average age of all starters in the Conference Semi-Finals is 28.  Every member of this Hornets team is a veteran NBA player.
  • Go pick a team in the playoffs.  Any team.  Hit them with 5 personals in a row, three of them offensive, and two on fast breaks that would have put the game in reach, and see how many of those teams don't get hit with a technical afterwards.  Does anyone think that the Lakers(Kobe, Gasol, Phil), Pistons(Everyone), Jazz(Sloan), Celtics(Garnett, Pierce, Doc), Magic(Turkoglu, Van Gundy), or Spurs(Pop, Duncan-glare) wouldn't get one?  I thought not.
  • Why is it that when the Hornets are blown out it is because they "lost their composure"?  What's the excuse for the three 20-point losses the Spurs have suffered?  They were so composed they didn't play hard?  It has nothing to do with composure.  It has to do with stellar defense by both teams and nearly mistake-free offensive basketball.  When an analyst says a team lost a game because it lost its composure – they're just being lazy, and aren't taking the time to point out what a defense was doing to frustrate an offensive set.  A player getting thrown out?  That's losing composure.

And lastly, I haven't said anything about Horry's foul yet.  To me, it's a lot like Jason Kidd's foul on Pargo from the Dallas series.  Both Kidd and Horry determined they were going to deliver a message with a hard foul, But since the NBA is played at such a fast speed, both fouls ended up being delivered after each player went airborne – resulting in dangerous fouls that could and did lead to injury. 

It's like the difference between Murder 1 – Premeditated Murder and Manslaughter – Depraved Indifference.  Kidd and Horry didn't set out to injure anyone, they just delivered fouls that had the potential to injure someone and were indifferent to the danger that put the other player in. 

At least I'd like to think they were indifferent.  Both probably got satisfaction out of it.  The Spurs fans certainly did.

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