The Hive Five: Game Ninety

They’re four time champs for a reason.

Est-ce qu’ils parlent le français à La Nouvelle-Orléans?”

“Uhhhh…”


It was our second straight Game 3 loss on the road. But unlike in Dallas, we executed well until the very end. Honestly, I can’t complain much about the Hornets’ effort at all. Tip your hat to Tony Parker for a fantastic game, credit Ginobili for being much more aggressive, and credit Duncan for beating West to loose ball after loose ball. New Orleans started off with great intensity but it waned down the stretch. San Antonio’s defensive strength only got stronger. In the end, you knew the Spurs were going to win a game… right? There’s absolutely no way we went to S.A. and swept them. They’re still the champs, they still play inspired defense, and they’re far better and more versatile than the media gives them credit for.

That said, this game eerily mirrors the regular season series. During the season, we won by an average 24.5 points in our wins and the Spurs won by an average 10.5. The Hornets won the first two games of this series by 19.5 and lost tonight by 11. That has to provide some solace. Throw in the fact that we played with nothing more than house money, and I’m already looking forward to Game 3. A quick player by player breakdown:

Chris Paul: What can you say? He came out looking for his own offense more than I’ve seen all season. That’s a sure sign he knew his shot was on. CP3 went 15-25 and torched Tony Parker at will. He made a Dwyane Wade like overhead flip shot. He made Tim Duncan look silly by turning him around and laying it past his outstretched arm. Sure, TP was more than willing to return the favor, going for 31 himself. But has any guy this young and experienced ever had a playoffs like this?

Bruce Bowen switched off the Paul assignment onto Peja, and the stat sheet won’t show how much Bruce hindered Predrag. Yes, Bowen’s the dirtiest player in the league. But he’s also unmistakably a difference maker defensively. He fought through numerous screens and made sure he knew where Peja was in transition. Do those two things and you’ll limit Peja every time. One thing the Serb did do well: taking Bowen off the dribble. He did it three times (surprisingly easily) and we may need a little more of that in Game 4.

Pace

Eff

eFG

FT/FG

OREB%

TOr

NOR

89.0

111.2

50.6%

18.1

26.8

11.2

SAS

123.6

54.7%

20.0

30.2

11.2

1. Shooting (X) Bruce Bowen killed it again. I don’t know how many more games he’ll burn us before Byron Scott makes a change, but the defense was tremendous in Games 1 and 2 despite allowing Bowen open shots. So I think it’s worth it, at least one more time, to let him shoot and cover everyone else tight.

2. Turnovers () Two outstanding teams playing a very clean game. Every team with playoff aspirations needs to be watching this series.

3. Offensive Rebounding (X) The rebounding started off fine with West extremely active on the boards. Suddenly someone turned the switch off, Duncan beat more athletic Hornets to every loose ball, and I counted two occasions (with the game still in hand) where David didn’t even try to go after a loose ball. Tired legs? I really hope not.

4. Free Throws () Other than the third quarter, New O kept the foul situation under control.

5. Pace (89) This game was dominated by the two point guards. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen two point guards go head to head and play at this high a level; usually it’s one PG playing phenomenally with the other one slightly off or being outperformed. I’ve called Tony Parker the best lay-up maker in the NBA for a long time. He may lack the ability to dunk in traffic, but he can score with either hand, off the glass, over outstretched hands, after double clutches, and on reverses. In fact, he could probably do all five at the same time. And then Chris Paul… Chris Paul…

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3 Responses

  1. I’ve noticed this year a propensity for the Hornets to occasionally have problems with penetrating guards. Now they have to stop two. It was a problem last night. I hope Byron finds a way to counter for game 4.

  2. dude did you see CP’s crazy flip spin lay-up. It was awesome.

  3. HORNETS NEED TO STOP DOUBLE TEAM DUNCAN AND LEAVING WIDE OPEN THREE’S..PLAY DUNCAN 1 ON 1 AND STAY CLOSE TO THE OTHERS…
    STOP DOUBLE TEAMING DUNCAN AND HORNETS WILL WIN…

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