Spurs Beat the Hornets Again

Published: March 6, 2010

Yet again, the Hornets lost to the surging San Antonio Spurs, who completed a season sweep of the Hornets for the second time in the last four years. Even worse, the Hornets dropped below .500 for the fist time since January 2nd.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that missing their leader is wearing on the Hornets, as even big nights from the rookies go unrewarded in the win column. As great as Collison has been, and again was tonight, the drop off between solid point guard and superstar player has been simply too much for the Hornets. On the year they dropped to 10-16 without their superstar, and 21-16 with him. I personally count the game they blew against Portland as being without him, since his injury led to Portland’s comeback. You don’t like my math? Tough.

In what is becoming an all too familiar theme for my recaps, let’s run through what went wrong, and then move onto the good stuff.

Thornton- It’s not his playing that puts him in bold at the top of this recap, but concerns about his health. Again he took a hard fall, apparently injuring his back. After the injury he didn’t return.

The 20 million dollar men- Peja and Mo-P managed to accumulate 55 minutes of action, scoring a grand total of 6 points on 2-16 shooting. After the game David West claimed “I just don’t think we’re in a rhythm as a team,” “These games are being decided in three or four minute stretches. In those stretches we just have to play better.”

To that I would have to argue that most of the team is playing fine. Mo-P and Peja provided little defense, and offensively killed the team. Horrid shooting like this from the guys who are supposed to be the best shooters just isn’t cutting it. If there was anyone to replace them, I would adamantly support those players seeing more time, but unfortunately those are the sacrifices the Hornets made to get under the luxury tax line.

Looking at a breakdown of individual statistics, it’s clear that the Hornets relied on three players to score nearly all over their points, whereas the Spurs had a balanced offensive attack that led to less effort being expended on offense. The result was better defensive basketball and easier baskets for the team.

Hornets in double figures- Darren Collison (32), David West (22), Marcus Thornton (18). Aside from that, James Posey led the way with 5 points. It’s rare to see a team win a game when the fourth leading scorer winds up with 5, so it’s no surprise that the Bees couldn’t pull this one out.

As for the Spurs, their balanced attack led to seven players scoring more than 10 points.

Okafor- It just seems like he is either on or off lately, and tonight he was off from the beginning. Without a real backup center, Okafor has to step up in order for the Bees to win games, but again he was unable to provide the interior defense and rebounding necessary. His play is a major reason why the team was out-rebounded 38-32.

That seems like enough bad for one recap so back to the positives.

Rookies- Again the rookies provided the team with everything they had, and again it wasn’t enough.

Collison led the way with 32 points on 19 shots, but was strangely contained as far as distributing goes. His two assists aren’t quite reflective of the game since Mo-P and Peja missed a bunch of would-be assists, but the number isn’t too far off at showing his real value as an assist man. In the fourth quarter he brought it, making all seven of his shots and scoring 16 points, but it was too little, too late.

Thornton again provided scoring off the bench, hitting 8 of his 15 shots en route to an 18 point night. His injury is concerning, but he will learn in time how to control his body and avoid injuries better.

West– West looked good tonight on offense, but rarely forced the issue, often settling for jumpers instead of taking the ball inside. He again was exploited inside as a weak post/help defender, but what is there to say that hasn’t already been said? When David is focused and motivated to play defense, he’s a solid defender. Otherwise, he needs a great help defender like Tyson Chandler to hide his weaknesses.

Since nobody else did anything of value, I’m going to skip the bullets and bid you all a good night.

UPDATE: Game highlights…

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