San Antonio 97 (25–15) | New Orleans 95 (21–19)
I secretly enjoy watching the San Antonio Spurs. I should hate them, given the 08 playoffs and whatnot, but they're just too fascinating; every game is like a course in the game of basketball. It's like watching the Colts. There's nothing particularly exciting about either team. But here's the hook: they're efficient, they're consistent, and they frequently embody how the sum of "x" amount parts can become greater the whole. I don't want to sound like I'm gushing because, as a fan of the Hornets, I do hate them. But as a fan of basketball, it's hard not to be impressed.
Tonight/Today they bested the Hornets for 48 minutes of basketball. Despite an awful (just awful) first quarter showing, the Hornets were able to cut down the lead to a mere half dozen points. But the Spurs held on for the W thanks to huge edges in 3 areas: free throw attempts (38 to 12), rebounds (50 to 38), second chance points (21 to 4). It also helped that they were spreading the floor well for most of the game. They (mainly Parker and George Hill) ran our defense ragged, and someone always seemed to be open for a three.
I'll hit more numbers after the jump, but for now, I want to switch gears. Seeing as this is roughly the halfway point, I thought I'd step back and look at the season as a whole. As it stands today, the Hornets are roughly 2 games out of the 8 seed in the Western Conference. And while that deficit is far from daunting (and the season far from over), I'm going to be of a sour nancy with regards to our chances. This team has shown (especially tonight) that they are thoroughly average.
I hate to be even entertaining this idea, but I'm starting to think a trip to the lottery would be preferable to the Lakers/Mavs/whoever trouncing us in 4 or 5 games on national television. Man, typing that hurt pretty bad.
Bullets after the jump.
- Chris Paul and David West did well (as we've come to expect). You know who didn't? Mekatron. The dude was completely outmatched by Duncan (but he did win the tip!), managing a paltry 2 points, 2 boards, and 4 fouls in 14 minutes of play. Oof.
- CP: 18 points, 9 assists, 4 boards, 3 turnovers, and 6 fouls in 37 minutes. His floater still isn't quite as automatic as it used to be, which probably explains why he needed 16 shots for those 18 points. Not a bad FG%, but you'd like to see a higher FG% and more trips to the line.
- DX: 18 points, 8 boards, 3 assists, 1 block, and 1 turnover in 37 minutes. Oh, and no free throw attempts. Thanks, refs.
- Marcus. Thornton. Holy. Bejezus. 16 points, 3 assists, 1 board, and 1 massive block on Tony Parker. Buckets was fearless tonight. He took on any player in the paint, including Duncan. How long before this guy starts over Brown? Anyone?
- Darren Collison. Looked good for most of his time on the court, despite low totals. Unfortunately, he tried to takeover late in the contest when the Hornets were within striking distance of the win, and managed a few misses and a turnover. Rookie collapsing down the stretch? No surprise. CP watching from the bench as the Hornets almost swing the momentum? Very surprising.
- Posey needs to stop mouthing off. It's one thing to stand up for your teammates, but it's another to poke and prod and get called for technicals. Harness that angry/vengeful energy into your game, son. Let's get some points or stops out of that instead of giving the opponent free throws.
- The Spurs = depth. McDyess, Mason, Bonner, Ginobili, and (when Richard Jefferson is healthy) Bogans. That's just bananas. Hard to compete against that when we're trotting out Posey, Songailia, Collison, and Thornton.
- I love Darren Collison, but methinks DeJaun Blair would have been a nice addition to a thin/mediocre front court. Just an observation.
- Always a mix of emotions watching Timmy Duncan. And with a final line of 21 points, 14 boards, 3 assists, and 2 blocks, there was plenty to be
impressedangry about. His 7 of 12 from the stripe was unusually lownice, but then I realize that he attempted the same amount of free throws as the entire Hornets squad and I... well, I'm at a loss for words.
- Sorry for all the gloom and doom. To be clear, I think this team (or pieces of it) have great potential, and I'm excited about their future. I just think we're going to have an early round exit at best, given our current roster and abilities. But if we blow some of this up and rebuild around Paul/West/Thornton/Collison (and maybe Oak if we can afford him), well then we're cooking with gas, right?
Composed to: Nick Cave's Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
Opponent's Take: Pounding the Rock