Hornets-Spurs: Sunday News Wrap

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Published: May 18, 2008

A fine Sunday afternoon it be here in New Orleans. I should really go do some outside stuff today. Volleyball perhaps. Hmm… But ahead of all that madness, here's what's being said about the Spurs and Hornets on the internets today. Enjoy!

Actually, before we get to the linkage, let's get some information out there for anybody that doesn't already know…

  • Game time for tomorrow's Game 7 between the Spurs and Hornets is set for 7:30p.m. Central.
  • The Lakers have already advanced to the Western Conference Finals thanks to their road win in Utah last Friday. Regardless of who wins between the Spurs and Hornets tomorrow, Game 1 against the Lakers will be played on Wednesday at the Staples Center.
  • I bought new underwear yesterday.

Glad we've got all that cleared up. Let's move on to some good news about David West. This from AP writer Brett Martel over at NBA.com…

  • One day of rest proved enough for the Hornets' All-Star forward to get back on the court for Saturday's practice, working on his game-changing array of mid-range jumpers, fadeaways and post-up moves.

    That was a relief to teammates, who were understandably concerned when West was face-down on the court in San Antonio on Thursday night, his left arm bent awkwardly over his lower back, after a hard screen set from behind by Spurs veteran Robert Horry.

    "If you come to practice and one of your best players is hurt, and you see him out here getting some shots up, that's the sign of a warrior,'' Hornets guard Morris Peterson said. "That's a sign of somebody who is putting the team in front of himself. That's the kind of guy he is. It did feel good to see him out there. It gave guys more confidence that he's going to play Monday.''

Also from that article, there's words from Robert Horry and Gregg Popovich about the hit that sent West to the floor in Game 6…

  • "It all stems from what happened with Steve Nash and that situation,'' Horry said. "But you know, I didn't know his back was hurt. I just thought he had tweaked something. … If he would have got up, this question would be moot right now. You wouldn't be asking me this question. But since his back is hurt — it was just a regular back pick, he fell down and it hurt his back.''

    Horry and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich both noted that Horry's foul on West was no harder a hit than Hornets center Tyson Chandler's backside pick on Spurs guard Tony Parker earlier in the series. In both cases, the hits likely would have been legal had Horry or Chandler stood still or fell back and absorbing the contact. Instead, they each leaned forward to ensure the opposing player took the brunt of the collision. Parker also went down hard, but was not injured on the play.

    "Very silly,'' Popovich said of the scrutiny given to Horry's foul on West. "It's nothing. Just like the back pick that Chandler put on Parker. … It was just a basketball play. I just think it's typical of where we live. This is our country. We're sensationalistic, we look for things, we have to have stories.''

    The Spurs' coach, known for his sarcasm, added: "We're maybe the dirtiest team in the NBA. We always have been. We've been known for that. … We wear black.''

More quotes from Horry in the San Antonio Express-News…

  • "You've got some reporters out there saying it was cheap shot," Horry said. "Those people don't know anything about basketball. It was just a back-pick."
  • "If I had tried to have some kind of malicious intent, I would have put a forearm in his back or something," Horry said.

In today's Times-Picayune, John Reid has more reactions from the Hornets camp

  • "I don't think they teach that," said Hornets backup center Melvin Ely, who played for the Spurs last season. "I think it was a play that happened at the wrong possible time for us. But some people call it smart playing, and some call it a dirty play.

    "It depends on how you look at it. That's basketball. I'm not going to lie to you; if I knew somebody's arm was hurting or their back was hurting or they had a sore hand, I would slap their hand, push them a little in the back."

  • "I really couldn't see it like I wanted to," Peterson said. "I just saw the last minute of it. It wasn't a dirty play. If it was, that's something the NBA has got to take care of and not something we can worry about. It's going to take more than one hit to knock us down."
  • West was not available for interviews Saturday, but after Thursday's game he said it was nice to have a few days to work out the pain to get ready for the biggest game in the Hornets' history.

    "He has another day of treatment today, plus he has game day," Scott said. "We feel pretty good that he would be ready, barring any crazy things or any setbacks."

In the Express-News, Mike Finger wonders if anyone really knows the severity of West's injury

  • In the first practice session since David West left Game 6 with a back injury, the team's workout was closed in its entirety. This was the first time this happened during this series. Usually, the media is allowed into the gym for the last few minutes of practice, but on Saturday, the court was already empty by the time the cameras and microphones were allowed inside.

    Possible conclusions: Either West is significantly healthier than the Hornets want the world to believe, or he's hurt significantly worse.

  • Hornets officials originally announced Saturday morning that West would be coming out of the locker room to talk to the media, but a few minutes later, they said he had to attend to a family emergency. Tyson Chandler and Morris Peterson, the only two Hornets players to speak to the media Saturday, both said they are confident West will be on the floor Monday.

    "I told him, 'If they got to pull you out in a wheelchair to play, that's what we're gonna do. We need you,'" Peterson said. "I think he understands that."

Also from the above link, Byron Scott's thoughts on the officiating last Thursday…

  • On the foul calls that went against the Hornets in the third quarter of Game 6, Scott said:

    "I thought it really affected our guys. I thought they started to feel that everybody, not only the crowd, but everybody else in there, was against us."

    He was particularly galled at a couple of charging calls against West and Chris Paul.

    "I didn't think those were really offensive fouls," Scott said. "I mean, you can call a foul on Tim Duncan on David every time he drives. He's got his hands on him. I guess it's home cooking. We'll see."

This next one definitely deserves a full read: Spurs Dynasty delivers a well-written post on the Spurs versus the world in Game 7

  • One play, an innocent enough looking offensive foul ordinarily, committed with 10:11 to go in a rout, drastically altered the way everyone thought about the previous 37:49 of Game Six and even more importantly, how they'll view Game Seven. What made this foul noteworthy when it otherwise wouldn't have been was who committed it, whose body part he committed it against, and what the stakes were.

    After all, there are literally thousands of hard fouls given during an NBA season.

    99% of the time, no one gives a shit.

A San Antonio woman in this video obviously didn't read that post from Spurs Dynasty, or the comments here at Hornets247 for that matter. Her thoughts on the Spurs…

  • "They're an American team. Everybody loves them."

Sorry to break it to you lady, but, via BallHype, here's proof that America doesn't like the Spurs much at all… 

  • In a recent SportsNation poll, ESPN asked America who they would rather see in the Western Conference Finals: the Hornets or the Spurs. 49 of the 50 states voted for the Hornets, leaving Texas — where the Spurs play — as the exception. And by the way, 47% of the Texans voted that they'd rather see the Hornets.

In the Newark Star-Legder, Dave D'Alessandro writes about New Orleans embracing the Hornets and giving them a solid homecourt advantage in the playoffs…

  • They have gone 6-0 at New Orleans Arena, winning that six-pack by an average count of 106-89.

    "We caught fire, and the fans caught fire with us," West said last week. "I tell people that the whole story of New Orleans (since Katrina) is really about the people. They tell the story more than the structures.

    "They're up in spirit, they're optimistic, they're positive about the situation. And they certainly love basketball. Our building is a great place to play."

NBA and LSU legend Bob Pettit has similar words in a great story by Peter Finney in the Times-Picayune…

  • "Right now, New Orleans is definitely a basketball city," said Pettit, who 50 years ago carried the St. Louis Hawks to an NBA championship, the same year Billy Cannon and company carried his alma mater to a college football championship.

    "It's great to see the city in this kind of frenzy, with basketball having its moment. The Hornets have the Arena rocking. And it's going to get rockier on Monday. The defending champs coming to town for a Game 7. Coming into a sea of gold. Can basketball life get any better?"

In the Express-News, Mike Monroe tells us that Popovich plans to start Oberto and Ginobili again in Game 7. There's also a story in there about birthday singing for Tony Parker, and a recollection of the last time the Spurs played a Game 7 on the road…

  • The Spurs haven't played a Game 7 on the road since 1990, when their season ended with one of the most bizarre plays in team history: Point guard Rod Strickland's no-look pass to nobody.

    The game was tied, 103-103, in overtime and the Spurs in possession with about 30 seconds left when Strickland fired his ill-advised pass. The nearest Spurs player was Sean Elliott, but he had no chance to catch the pass. Instead, Portland's Jerome Kersey ran down the errant pass and threw the ball ahead to Clyde Drexler.

    Strickland then compounded his bone-headed play by committing a clear-path foul on Drexler. That gave the Blazers free throws and the ball. The result: a 108-105 Portland victory that gave them a spot in the Western Conference finals.

In a separate article, Monroe tells us that Kurt Thomas is the lone Spur to have won a Game 7 on the road, and notes the rarity of such a feat…

  • Game 7 road victories are scarce, of course. Monday's will be the 100th in NBA playoff history. According to the Web site, nbagame7.com, the home team has won 79 of those. There have been 20 Game 7s in the Western Conference semifinals. The road team has won only four times.

Interesting conspiracy theory from a poster at the HR boards who thinks the NBA might be trying to give home teams better breaks in the playoffs…

  • Maybe the NBA is tired of hearing people accept that "good teams turn it on the playoffs" and that "the regular season means nothing." [Hear that San Antonio?] What better way to come out and tell everyone how meaningful a regular season game is then to point to home teams winning just about every playoff game. If the NBA can convince teams/fans/MEDIA that homecourt advantage is so very important to winning a series, then everyone will pay more attention to the rush during the regular season for playoff seeding, thus making the NBA's regular season important.

I forgot this one yesterday: Via Hornets Asylum, here's Phil Jackson's thoughts on whether he'd rather his Lakers play the Spurs or the Hornets in the Conference Finals…

  • "We know San Antonio is the best of the two teams. I think either team is a very difficult match up for us and we anticipate a real tough series."

Alright, pretty much done. Let's close it out like the cool kids we aspire to be…

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