Hornets-Spurs: Saturday News Wrap

Finally! A day when the internet isn't overloaded with Hornets playoff talk. I actually got through this bunch in a reasonable amount of time. Now I've no idea what to do with the rest of my afternoon.

Via TrueHoop, we'll start off with a great story from pro trainer Idan Ravin, who witnessed Chris Paul battling Gilbert Arenas at one of CP's pre-draft workouts back in 2005…

  • The first half an hour we just did a lot of drills and stuff, and the last half an hour we did a lot of competitive drills with a lot of 1-on-1 and spots. I probably want to say Chris won every single game. Now, 1-on-1 doesn't mean much, but it does mean something. When you're a 19-year old kid and you're going up against a top six or seven player in the NBA and you don't back down, you're just ferocious.

    After the workout Gilbert came up to me and was like, "That kid is going to be special." To this day, Chris and Gilbert are very good friends. But that minute kind of showed me that there's no fear in him.

    When you step off the court, he's a gentle, humble, kind, modest kid, but in those 90 feet, he's a lion, man.

John DeShazier writes about the Hornets recent bench woes

  • "The second unit played terrible," Scott said. "That's the bottom line. They weren't good on offense and they were worse on defense. We've got to get more out of our second unit than we did (Thursday) night."
  • They struggled on rotations. They struggled one-on-one. They seemed to have forgotten what their assignments were. Some of the same was true of New Orleans' starters — otherwise, the Spurs might not have scored 42 points in the lane and the starting backcourt of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili might not have scored 31 each. But the bench miserably failed to provide any pick-me-up.
  • It's been so bad that Scott, who generally has a well of confidence in Pargo, is drying up in that department.

    "I am concerned," Scott said. "Not only is he not making shots, but he's getting beat on defense one-on-one. A lot of times, when he's out there on Ginobili, it's just like it was when he was guarding Jason Terry (of Dallas) in the first round. They're both high-energy guys. And (against Ginobili), he's been getting beat.

    "He has been our most consistent guy off the bench, and we've got to get that back."

Also in today's T-P, John Reid writes about Peja's struggles in Game 3, and possible adjustments for Game 4…

  • Scott said one of the Hornets' biggest problems to solve for Game 4 is improving their rotations to defend the post. Several times, Melvin Ely was caught trying to come out and defend Fabricio Oberto when he should have remained on Duncan.

    Ely played 12 minutes after center Tyson Chandler was called for three of his four fouls in the third quarter, which limited him to seven minutes in the quarter.

    "Our help-side defense was terrible," Scott said. "At times, we would come like we were supposed to, and we didn't stunt or rotate. We didn't do the things we had been doing the last couple of games."

Jeff McDonald tells us about the Spurs new game plan

  • Between now and Game 4 on Sunday, when the Spurs get a shot at getting even in the series, they will not waste much time looking for ways to slow New Orleans' preternatural point guard.

    Resigned that Paul probably will find points no matter what brand of defense is thrown at him, the Spurs have put into place a plan to try and slow most everybody else.

Apparently the Hornets were running scared at yesterday's practice. Mike Finger has the story…

  • Turns out, all of those cynics were right about the New Orleans Hornets. On the morning after they lost Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals, they walked onto the AT&T Center floor and promptly started showing their inexperience, overreacting to adversity and, in some cases, even letting out a few frightened yelps.

    "Bunch of big, grown men, running scared," center Melvin Ely said, shaking his head.

    But lest the Spurs start thinking they've gotten into their opponents' heads, it should be noted that they aren't the ones who had the Hornets in panic mode. It was actually just a giant moth — "A 'Silence of the Lambs' moth," New Orleans assistant coach Darrell Walker noted — that sent players screaming and ducking for cover, much to their embarrassment.

AP writer Elizabeth White examines the similarities between Hornets-Mavs and Hornets-Spurs. In both rounds, our guys won the first two games at home before dropping the third on the road…

  • "It's almost scary how similar it is," Hornets center Tyson Chandler said on Friday. "The same thing happened. I felt like in Dallas in Game 3 we went in there and gave them some life because of our defensive struggles. The same thing happened last night."

    In the first round, the Hornets fell to the Mavericks 97-87 in Game 3 before pulling it together to eliminate their opponent in five games. On Thursday, the Spurs beat the Hornets 110-99 to avoid falling into an 0-3 hole from which no NBA team has recovered.

Mike Monroe says you have to look beyond the split ends box score to see the contributions of Fabricio Oberto… 

  • Check the box score from Game 3 and Oberto's contribution is nearly impossible to quantify. In just under 25 minutes of court time, he took only three shots and scored only two points.

    But he played solid interior defense against All-Star power forward David West.

    He grabbed nine rebounds and kept two more alive by tipping them out to teammates. That helped the Spurs gain a tiny advantage on the boards against one of the NBA's best offensive rebounding units. 

From Morris Peterson's latest blog entry over at Hornets.com…

  • In terms of how I've been doing in the playoffs, I've been working hard and my will to win is strong right now. Whatever happened in the regular season, all of that is great. But the only thing people are going to remember is what you did in the playoffs.

Jannero Pargo has also been blogging. Here he talks about the New Orleans fans in the first two games…

  • The fan support has been crazy. I even looked up in the stands the other day and saw a couple people wearing a Hornets T-shirt with my name on the back. Honestly, I've never seen that before since I've been in the NBA. It was amazing to see.

From Les East in the Baton Rouge Advocate: Both Tyson Chandler and Byron Scott want to get out and run more against the Spurs…

  • "We have to get up and down the court, we have to run," Chandler said. "They're a veteran team, so they want to slow the pace and stay in the halfcourt set. If we want to have any kind of chance we can't allow that because we know they're champs because they're masters at that.

    "I think we've got younger legs so we get out and run. Their thing is to get us in a halfcourt set and our thing is to get out and run."

  • "We have to be up and down the floor," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We have to try and create turnovers so we can get going. Right now we know that we can't afford to play their style. We can't. I don't think we can beat them playing their style of basketball, but playing our style we know we've got a great chance."

More words from Byron Scott, courtesy of Teddy Kider in the Times-Picayune

  • "We gave them two or three things that we talked about not giving them, open shots and lay-ups," Hornets Coach Byron Scott said Friday afternoon. "And they were able to attack us. I thought individual defense wasn't very good last night. Our rotations were very bad. And we just saw that on tape."
  • "Nobody expected to come down here and sweep the world champions," Scott said. "Let's get that straight right now. This is still the best team in the game, and they've got a pedigree of being in this situation a number of times. They're not going to get flustered. They're going to play harder than they did in Game 3."

And that will do it. Game 4 is tomorrow at 7p.m. Central. More stuff here ahead of that.

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