Hornets-Spurs: Thursday news wrap

May day! New month, new series. I'm (mostly) ditching the Mavs talk today and looking forward to Game 1 of Hornets-Spurs, which tips this Saturday at 9p.m. Central. Here we go…

Jim Eichenhofer has a nice introduction to the Hornets-Spurs series over at Hornets.com…

  • The Spurs possess an obvious advantage over the Hornets in experience, but the results from the clubs' 2007-08 regular seasons were virtually identical. Both teams finished the campaign at 56-26. They split four head-to-head matchups, with the Hornets going 1-1 in New Orleans and 1-1 in San Antonio. Both teams finished 10-6 in divisional games. Ultimately, the third tiebreaking step – conference record – enabled New Orleans to break the deadlock with San Antonio. Even in that category, the Hornets (34-18 vs. Western Conference opponents) narrowly edged the Spurs (33-19).

Lots of interesting stuff in the San Antonio Express-News from Jeff McDonald…

  • The Spurs split their four regular-season games with New Orleans. But all anyone remembers are the two the Hornets won — 102-78 on Jan. 26 in San Antonio, and 100-75 on March 12 in New Orleans.

    Only the Spurs' 26-point loss at Utah on April 4 was worse.

  • "Everybody saw what they did to us in a couple of games," guard Manu Ginobili said. "They really killed us."
  • Robert Horry owns more championship rings than any active player (seven), and is closing in on another milestone. With five more appearances, Horry can match Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league's all-time leader in playoff games played.

Also in the Express-News, Mike Monroe compares Chris Paul and Tony Parker in several categories…

  • Foul magnets: Because both point guards predicate their games on their ability to get into the paint, among the giants, they draw fouls aplenty. Parker went to the foul line 16 times in Tuesday’s Game 5 victory. Paul shot 14 free throws in the Hornets’ Game 2 victory over the Mavericks. Paul is a better free-throw shooter, 85 percent to 71 percent for Parker.

Gotta love this quote from David West in the Baton Rouge Advocate

  • "I said in the locker room to some guys last night," Hornets forward David West said after practice Wednesday, "that we went from losing to Dallas (21) times in a row to beating them six times in one year, so we're looking at every challenge the same.

    "The same approach we took with Dallas, we have to take with San Antonio. We know we haven't had that much success against them, but this year we changed that, we altered that, and this is just another opportunity to do so."

And this one from Byron Scott in the Times-Picayune ain't bad either…

  • "I thought Chris (Paul) made a great point last night when he came into the locker room," Scott said. "Nobody was jumping up and down, celebrating. He said, 'Four down, 12 to go.' And that's how you've got to look at it. We've got to win 12 more games." 

An inspiring read from John DeShazier in today's T-P. He's also got quotes from David West…

  • "We're going to compete and play hard, but we're going in with the attitude that if we play the game the right way, stick to our guns and do what we do, we're going to give ourselves a chance."

    Don't dismiss that final word "chance," because however it might be calculated for New Orleans — as a puncher with knockout power, a legitimate heavyweight or any point in between — the Hornets absolutely have one.

  • "We're not going to go into this series, or any other series, expecting to lose," West said. "We expect to win, we expect to play well, we expect to do the right things to give ourselves a chance to win."

Marty Burns of SI.com previews the Hornets-Spurs series (hat tip: HR boards), and picks San An to win it in seven …

  • Paul is scary good, and the Hornets showed in the last round that they could handle the big stage of the playoffs. But New Orleans is facing a much tougher foe in the Spurs, who still possess the game's best big man in Duncan and know how to win in the postseason.

Aggrey Sam has notes from Hornets-Mavs Game 5 over at SLAMonline, and goes on to talk about Hornets vs. Spurs at the end…

  • Winning this series was obviously a big step for N.O., especially since they dispatched Dallas so quick. They match up better with the Spurs than a lot of people think, but obviously San Antonio has that championship pedigree. If they keep their heads, hold it down at home and steal a game on the road, they can get it done. Will it happen? Time will tell. 

In the Shreveport Times, Roy Lang III says the Hornets are closer to delivering a championship than the Saints have ever been, and tells us a story about George Shinn's mother-in-law…

  • If owner George Shinn's mother-in-law would have had her way, the Hornets might still be an old-fashioned Big Easy disappointment.

    "In your first season, when you had a spectacular 18-win season, my mother-in-law called me and told me I should fire you," Shinn told Scott at Tuesday's NBA Coach of the Year news conference. "But my mother-in-law did not understand character."

Much love for Jannero Pargo in this AP report. Here's the lead in…

  • Jannero Pargo was the last player left on the court Wednesday, as he often is after most of his Hornets teammates have cleared out of their suburban training center.

    "The way to make shots, you have to get confidence. And the way you get confidence is when you're in the gym by yourself,'' Pargo said. "You see that ball just constantly going through the hoop. It's repetition and it gives you a sense of knowing you can make shots. It just becomes repetitive, and when you're out there during the game, you just feel like sometimes you're in the gym by yourself.''

A dude named Kirk Bohls pushes for Chris Paul as MVP

  • When you consider that two-time MVP Steve Nash imploded with the rest of the Phoenix Suns, who committed seven turnovers in the fourth quarter alone of their finale against the Spurs, Paul's feats are all the more impressive. His stats are mind-boggling. In five playoff games, he has 60 assists and only six turnovers for a beyond-rare 10-to-1 ratio.

    Runner-up? Try Utah's Deron Williams, who has 42 dimes but 19 turnovers.

Credit where it's due: James Rees called an easy win for the Hornets in round one. This from his Playoff preview post..

  • I'm saying Hornets in six, only because I don't want to be presumptuous to the point of jinxing and say Hornets in five. I think the Hornets are going to make this series look a lot easier than people think, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a Hornets homer.  

Great piece from Alejandro de los Rios about the Hornets trying trick shots at practice yesterday. There's even video of Morris Peterson knocking down a shot off the wall behind the basket, a clip which made it in as the 4th best play on SportsCenter this morning. Alejandro has words from Mo…

  • "That shot is in my arsenal," he said afterwards.

    So why did it take so long to hit it?

    "I wanted to throw off the other guys, make them think that I'm mortal," he joked.

John Reid writes about a likely contract extension for Byron Scott, quoting his business manager Brian McInerney…

  • "Byron wants to stay with this team," said McInerney, who negotiated Scott's first deal with the Hornets in 2004 when he replaced former coach Tim Floyd.

    "Everything is right, and the machine is running well. This has been a perfect fit. He's not thinking about any other thing except picking up another ring for Chris Paul, Peja Stojakovic and himself."

That Adrian dude with the unpronounceable last name has an interesting piece on the NBA coaching carousel over at Yahoo! Our own coach gets quoted…

  • "It's all so fickle, just such a fickle league. People can change on you in a second."

With the Sonics OKC-bound, Darnell Mayberry tells readers of The Daily Oklahoman that Kevin Durant might turn out as good as Chris Paul, or maybe even better…

  • Durant showed signs this season that he might be on a more accelerated development schedule than Paul. 

Check out Hornets Hype today for a great poster.

Leaving you with a warm fuzzy: Stacey the Honeybee. Oh, and  don't forget that tomorrow is Fan Up Friday, so be sure to wear your "I heart Hugo" underwear outside your pants.

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