The Hive Five: Game Ninety-One

Sigh.

“Guide us, O Great Leader.”


First and foremost, don’t bring any referee complaints into this one. We got outperformed in every possible manner. Rebounding? Check. Tim Duncan very nearly outrebounded our starters by himself. Turnovers? Check. Chris Paul forced and forced and forced (uncharacteristically). Aggressiveness? Check. The Spurs went to the line twice as often as the Hornets, and though Duncan got numerous touch fouls, the point is he got touch fouls going towards the hoop. Shooting? Of course a check.

Then there’s the one thing we have to change back in New Orleans: don’t bring the double on Duncan until he puts the ball on the floor. Timmah’s a terrific passer from the paint, and given the opportunity, he will pick you apart. It’s far easier to pass while holding the ball instead of dribbling it. Throw in the fact that Duncan usually goes into this weird little bendy thing with his head projecting far ahead of his body whilst driving, and it makes it even more obvious that he needs to start dribbling.

Why was our defense so bad? Reason #1: defensive switches. I counted at least seven occasions where Chris Paul, Mo-Pete or General Pargo were walled off by a screener, the screener’s defender took the original dribbler, and another Hornet rotated to guard the screener himself. This left CP3, MP, JP, whoever it was floating around guarding nobody. Byron Scott seems highly wary of the mismatches produced by the screen game, but this strategy is just ridiculous. As long as the offense reorients itself, and kicks two shooters outside before the defender realizes where his new assignment is, there’s going to be a wide open jump shot every time. The best option would be to go over screens as much as possible and let the help defense come to the rescue. TC and DX are underrated as far as the rotation D they provide. We can sit here and say “oh, they won’t shoot like that again,” but what if it happens again? The Hornets can’t afford to lose the next game, fluke or not, so they need to guard both the jump shot and the drive.

Our defense also suffered due to our closeouts on jumpshots. Were they lacking? No. In fact, they were probably just as solid as the closeouts we made in Games 1 through 3. The problem was who was closing out, not how or how often. Tyson Chandler and David West were forced to contest jumpers in the corner on too many instances- a couple of times, they already had box out position before being forced to vacate the area. The stat sheet will say the Hornets got crushed on the D-glass (37-26), but it wasn’t because of a lack of effort as in Game 3. With DX and TC unable to get rebounds, and Peja stuck at the three point line (where all the cool kids were hanging out tonight), who’s getting the rebound? Chris Paul? The General? Yeah, that’s what I thought. On to the factors:

Pace

Eff

eFG

FT/FG

OREB%

TOr

NOR

89.0

89.9

43.3%

11.0

21.3

14.6

SAS

112.4

56.6%

18.4

23.5

16.9

1. Shooting (X) David West went 4 for 15, and I credit Oberto almost entirely. Fabricio anticipated every dribble and every cut West was going to make and had great footwork in getting to his spots. Also, just noticed this, but why the @#% did Pargo have 14 FGA? Mike James played much of the garbage time so the 4th quarter didn’t inflate Pargo’s FGA too much. Bonzi Wells had just 5 looks and he converted 3 of them. The General with almost 3 times the attempts of Donatello? Really?

2. Turnovers () As I mentioned earlier, Chris Paul forced the issue uncharacteristically. You could make the case that if he hadn’t, the game would’ve turned into a blow-out much sooner. Forcing comes with its costs, and one of those is turnovers. He finished with 4, but the rest of the team did a good job.

3. Offensive Rebounding (X) I have no doubt in my mind that the player to watch on Tuesday will be one Tyson Chandler. When was the last time he had more fouls than rebounds in a game? Answer: January 24th, 2007. When was the last time Tyson didn’t attempt a field goal? Answer: May 2nd, 2006 when he played 4:53 in a first round game for Chicago. I’m calling a 20/20 right now. You heard it here first. Mark it down. Book it.

4. Free Throws (X) I’m tempted to give a check because as much as San Antonio drove, they didn’t draw *too* many fouls. But when the leading foul drawer on the team (Paul) goes to the line 4 times, you have a problem.

5. Pace (89) Exact same pace as last game. Some final notes: Pops played Kurt Thomas a mere 8 minutes in this game. To me, that’s a great coach at work. Instead of worrying about his player’s ego, etc, he went with the guy who was getting the job done (Oberto) even though Thomas had played double digit minutes in 16 straight games. Expect to see Oberto back on West in Game 5; I wouldn’t be surprised if Fabricio were made the starter. Melvin Ely played exactly four seconds and still somehow registered a -3 differential on the game. After going a combined +48 in two home games, Chandler has been -15 on the road. Parker and Duncan had more assists than the entire Hornets team combined.

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4 Responses

  1. Ouch. We just straight out got beat. Badly. This is the first time the Hornets have really felt pressure. Down to 2-2. A three game series. They have home court still, but need to seriously regroup if they want Game 5.

  2. Yeah. For some reason, I was totally convinced that we would get this game. Looks like the playoff inexperience is hurting us bloggers more than the players themselves…

  3. I thought so too.

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