The Hive Five: Game Ninety-Two

That was a game for the ages.

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Rookie Julian Wright risks a glance at the infamous Duncan Face.

Oh boy, where do I start? I already extolled the virtues of David West (below) so now let's take a look at the rest of the crew.

Chris Paul was Chris Paul, outscoring SA 12-11 in the 3rd despite an awful 6-18 shooting night. CP's biggest impact came from the line, where he knocked home 9-11. Tony Parker got into some foul trouble thanks to Paul's exploits.

Peja was shut down again by Bowen, but honestly, that isn't as big a problem for us as it may seem. For one, Mo-Pete has stepped up in Peja's stead (4 triples last night). Second, this is something unique to playing the Spurs. Only a San Antonio (Bowen) or a Houston (Battier) has a guy they can use exclusively for defense. Tiring out Kobe by having him chase Peja around would be too risky for the Lakers. Utah would suffer greatly on the boards if Kirilenko were forced to hang around the three point line. Get through one more game without a top-flight Peja, and he'll come back strong in the Conference Finals.

West may be the guy who leads the team in blocks, but Tyson Chandler is undoubtedly the center of the defense. Not only is he the most athletic defender we have, our entire defensive strategy revolves around him- even Paul, Peterson, and Pargo's defensive strategy is dictated by him. Take last night for example. The first half, Byron Scott continued to send the double at Duncan (not as fervently as Games 1-4). Then the third quarter rolled along, and Tyson only had 2 fouls. So Byron decided to let Tyson play Duncan one on one, and voila. The mad guard scrambling to switch and close out shooters was no longer needed. You may have heard the TV commentators repeat over and over that San Antonio's ball movement suddenly disappeared. Want to know why? Look no further than Tyson's D.

Staying on the subject of Chandler, I now look pretty foolish for calling a 20/20 from him. But I'll take his great defensive effort. If he has to sit parts of Game 6 due to his foot, we could be in some bad trouble. On to the factors:


Pace

Eff

eFG

FT/FG

OREB%

TOr

SAS

83.0

95.2

43.5%

15.6

20.8

13.3

NOR

121.7

50.0%

32.9

27.9

7.2

  1. Shooting (): San Antonio shot the long ball decently (9-23) but did little else well. We saw a new dimension of the Hornets D- an interior presence. David West swatted away 5 shots, and Tyson rejected 3.
    Meanwhile, Morris Peterson heated up at the right time with 4 trifectas.
  2. Turnovers (): Chris Paul- 14 assists, 1 turnover. Tony Parker- 4 assists, 3 turnovers. The young, inexperienced Hornets out-executing the veteran Spurs? Who would've thunk it?
  3. Rebounding (): Sure, Timothy had 23 boards. But the second best rebounder for San Antonio (Kurtis) had four. Compare that with the Hornets' balance- West 14, Predrag 11, Tyson 8. Even Chris Paul had more offensive rebounds (3) than any Spur not named Timothy.
  4. Free Throws (): Boo yah! When Mo-Pete leads the team with 4 fouls, you're in great shape. Some Spurs fans are blaming poor officiating . They cite Charlie Rosen (yes, the guy who compared Arenas to Jordan, called B. Roy a bust, and had this to say about LBJ: "The best [he] can ever be is an average NBA player"). It disappoints me that that page I linked to is the only recap/coverage Pounding the Rock has of last night's game. I would've loved to see some thoughts from them. However, 48 Minutes of Hell did a terrific post you should read.
  5. Pace (83): The slowest game of the series corresponded to our largest free throw output. So while we couldn't get out that much in transition, we were able to make up some of those points at the line.
Some final thoughts: According to +/-, CP3 registered a +21, virtually the exact opposite of Parker's -20. I suppose that makes sense since they were on court at the same times. David West's 5 assists last night marks the 3rd time he's hit that figure in the playoffs. West hit that mark just 7 times in the regular season, most recently on January 21st (at MIL). Additionally, it was the 3rd time this year that DX blocked 5 shots. During the regular season, Peja attempted 6.8 threes per game. In the Spurs series, he's attempted 3.4/g and just 2.0/g since Bowen started defending him. After burning Dallas with a 30 point game in Round 1, General Pargo has a combined 29 in 5 games versus San Antonio. Finally, Big Shot Bob finished with 1 point and 4 fouls in 7 minutes.
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