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Thinking About a Hornets-Spurs 1st Round

Last night's win was huge (see Curry's recap below), not only because it was a win, but also because it was a potential first round preview. What can we take away from it?

  • Byron Scott knows how to guard Tim Duncan. In the last 10 Duncan-Hornets matchups (starting with last year's playoffs), Duncan shoots 42% from the floor. If you remove a 10-13 domination in Game 3 of the playoffs, he's shot 38% over that span. Considering that this is perhaps the greatest PF in NBA history we're talking about, one that shoots 51% from the floor, and one that we typically single cover with the likes of Melvin Ely and Hilton Armstrong... it's pretty impressive. Duncan's rebounding numbers do go up slightly, but a 10% drop in shooting is a 10% drop in shooting.
  • Ginobili scares me more than any SG in the league, other than Dwyane Wade. Every time he drives the lane, it's a guaranteed trip to the line. His step back three is slowly climbing back up to the 40% level of the last two years.
  • The way to beat the Spurs is the transition game. It's ironic, since they have possibly the best transition D in the league. But CP's game gets so bogged down in the half court that not having running opportunities is brutal.
  • Hilton Armstrong is playing the best ball of his life, and we'll need it against the likes of Drew Gooden (who mysteriously stopped getting minutes in the 2nd half). Can you imagine this new version of Hilton off the bench behind Chandler?
  • One of the best ways to attack a team that packs the paint is to run motion and have a guy dart in and out of the paint, off screens. Our best screen runner is Mo Pete, but he only got 5 minutes last night. Some of that was because of the successful Antonio Daniels-Chris Paul backcourt, but I'd also like to see him cut into Butler's minutes when Butler struggles from the floor. I mean... that's one of the advantages of having multiple three shooters. One of them struggles, you bring in the other. Force feeding the struggling shooter while leaving the other on the bench all game makes little sense.
  • Julian Wright on Ginobili. This has to be the matchup. Even if it forces JuJu to the bench, we need to do this if we draw S.A. in the first round.
  • With all the Deron Williams hype, people are forgetting Tony Parker. For my money, Parker's been the better player this year- about as efficient from the floor, a less adept creater but also significantly better with turnover rates. He makes Chris Paul work really hard on the defensive end, and at times you can see the result on the offensive side too. Williams is a tough cover too, but he doesn't make his defender run around nearly as much as Parker.

In many ways, I think I'd rather the Hornets face San Antonio in the first round over  some of the other teams. I don't mean that as disrespect to the Spurs; at this point, they are clearly the superior team. But New Orleans has had a ton of experience facing the Spurs- with this last game, the two teams have played 14 times over the last two seasons. There's no element of surprise, no real need for additional game planning. The Hornets know exactly what they need to do to beat the Spurs. And of course, there's no shame in losing to Tim Duncan. Chris Andersen? Now that would be another story entirely.