Game On: Hornets @ Spurs

Published: February 2, 2012

We look at the rematch from ten days ago and point out some keys for a Hornets victory.

Just ten days ago the Hornets lost a heartbreaker to San Antonio at home, as Tim Duncan had his best game of the season and capped it off with an ugly hook in the final seconds to give the Spurs a 104-102 win. What’s scary for the Hornets is that the Spurs are a much more dangerous team at home, as they have gone 11-1 at the AT&T Center this season (compared to 3-8 on the road). If the Hornets are going to win their fifth game of the season tonight, they are going to have to compete for all 48 minutes. These last few games, they have only seemed capable of giving 24.

Keys to the Game:

1. Keep Tony Parker out of the lane

Easier said than done, I know, but possible nonetheless. The Spurs will continue to run pick and roll after pick and roll, so the Hornets will have to pick their poison. Last time these teams met, the Hornets hedged or tried to trap Parker on a lot of those pick and rolls, and the result was a season-high 17 assists for Parker. Why not just go under the pick instead? Make Parker beat you with the 18 footer all night, and stop the San Antonio bigs from getting easy buckets.

2. Dominate the boards

The Hornets did this in the last meeting, outrebounding the Spurs 40-27 overall and 11-4 on the offensive glass. The Hornets have younger and more athletic front line players and can use that to hold the Spurs to one shot per posession, while getting multiple shots themselves. The Spurs are a far more efficient offesnive team, so the Hornets simply have to match quality with quantity if they are going to win this game.

3. Protect the three-point line

The Spurs shoot well at home, about 41% from deep (compared to 36% on the road). Richard Jefferson and Matt Bonner, specifically, really see their numbers go up and Gary Neal is starting to heat up as well. None of those guys I just mentioned can beat you off the dribble or create their own shot, so defenders can not be afraid to be aggressive in their close outs. If they pump fake, and get around their guy, the help defenders must be disciplined as well. Don’t leave Matt Bonner open behind the arc to prevent Gary Neal from taking an open 14 footer. This sounds like common sense, but watch any Spurs game and you will be shocked by some of the decisions defenders make.



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