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Spurs pick and then roll Hornets

Published: January 23, 2013

In the first half, neither team was really stopping the other.  Vasquez was finding the roll man or Eric Gordon was drilling every shot he put up.  On the flip side, Tony Parker tore the Lopez-Vasquez pick and roll defense to pieces.  Again and again, Parker would get into space and pull back, Lopez would get stuck in no mans land – neither near parker, nor near Splitter, and parker would find Splitter for a layup.  After layup, after layup . . .   there’s a reason why Splitter went 10-11 for 25 points.

Of course, I want to say that changed when other players got on the floor, but it didn’t materially.  Jason Smith did a much better job, but there wasn’t really any slowing Parker.  The result was back and forth basketball, fun to watch, but the whole time I had a knot growing in my stomach.  The Hornets weren’t pulling away while scoring like mad, and I didn’t think they had this offense in them in the second half.

Then the second half hit, and both teams cooled off dramatically.  The Spurs were still manufacturing open threes but missing them.  The Hornets stopped being able to get anything going to the basket, and in general stopped hitting shots unless Jason Smith was taking it.  They still managed to keep within distance of the Spurs by hitting the offensive glass hard.

Then the fourth quarter hit, and we all got a taste of San Antonio when they decide to play all out.  The Spurs defense kicked up another notch.  Vasquez couldn’t make headway off his pick and rolls and Eric Gordon couldn’t get anything going.  Oh, and I mean anything.  You want to know why he ended with 8 shots?  It was because he couldn’t get any off in the fourth.  He kept getting cut off, pushed off balance, and either coughed up a turnover or had to pass it out under pressure, gaining no advantage for the Hornets.  It was pretty crushing.  Only Vasquez’s huge balls and pair of threes off the dribble staved off a complete collapse, and Monty had had enough with 1:42 to go and the Hornets falling behind by 12.   He pulled his closing five and inserted the bench, who attacked defensively, drilled some damn lucky threes, forced some turnovers, and suddenly put it back to a 4 point game.

There wasn’t enough time, though, and the Spurs finished the game hitting their free throws.


  • Aminu was playing a great game up until he missed three point blank shots at the rim.  If he could have just put those down, I’d be singing his praises for his energy, hustle, rebounding and defense.
  • Lopez started in the third, but after he spent that stint getting torched in the pick and roll and couldn’t get his post up game going against Splitter, he was pulled and left on the bench.
  • Davis started the game strong, but got into foul trouble only four minutes in and never really regained his equilibrium.  Still, he had one gorgeous block of a step-back jumper from Parker that was impressive as hell.
  • Jason Smith was a monster out there, hitting shots and changing the tone of the defense.  Twice though, I saw him holding that bum shoulder and grimacing.  It’s now an every game occurrence.
  • Speaking of Grimacing, Vasquez has some of the best grimaces in the game.  Dude is always gnashing his teeth about something.  Oh, and both his alley-oops to Aminu were absolutely sick tonight.  Dead money passes, one from half court, and one a flip pass over his head.  Guy is just a workhorse who never gives up, never surrenders.
  • Austin Rivers was running the point the majority of the time with the second unit tonight, even with Roberts on the floor.  Out of 18 possessions, Rivers brought up the ball and started the offense on 14 of them.  Of course, he still couldn’t make a shot . . .

That was a tough one, but it was against one of the best teams on the road, and the Hornets fought to the end.  Let’s see what the team can do at home Friday against Harden and the Rockets.


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