Spurs Push It To The Limit

With their backs against the wall, the Spurs brought their trademark game to the court, and even had some help from the bench.  New Orleans didn’t make it easy though.
1Q   Both teams came out of the gate and took it to each other, keeping the score even for quite some time.  Udoka would be inserted in the first, and from the time his foot stepped on the court, he played like he belonged there.  San Antonio would finish the quarter strong with a 12 point lead.
2Q  Duncan was doing a good job drawing fouls, even as Paul did everything he could to keep his team in the game.  The Spurs defensive rotations would appear to be a bit slow for awhile, and New Orleans slowly chipped away at the lead.  However, Manu would hit back to back 3s to stretch the lead, and the rest of the team would resume their hot shooting to take a 7 point lead into halftime.
3Q  That the Hornets were so close, with the Spurs shooting so well, is a testament to just how well Chris Paul runs his team.  However, he is still young, and Bowen was able to draw a foul on him on back to back plays, giving him 4.  Byron Scott would leave him in the game, but it wouldn’t seem to matter.  Soon after, West was called for two quick fouls, and his fourth came not long after, leading to the frustration that also yielded a technical for him.  Paul would show leadership of a player years older though, as he gathered the Hornets up and settled them down.  This would be approximately the same time that San Antonio decided to take control though, with Parker getting a LONG time to shoot a corner 3, which he made, and Manu continuing to shoot lights out from long range.  Udoka would come off the bench, continuing to PRODUCE, hitting another 3, as well as a big block on a fast break attempt.
4Q  Up by 15, San Antonio would continue to roll, as Ginobili hit yet another 3.  New Orleans problems would just be starting though, as David West went down in severe pain.  Aggravating his pinched nerve, he would leave the game, but his status is worrisome going into the decisive game.  Udoka would continue his help off the bench, hitting another 3, and the Spurs would cruise to a 99-80 victory.
Review  This game was much closer than the final score indicates.  San Antonio didn’t grab control until the third quarter was well underway.  They fed off of some extremely hot shooting throughout the first half, approaching 70%, which is why they would hold a 7 point margin at the half.  They would cool off in the second half, but Ginobili and Udoka would hit big shots to help maintain the lead, and some mistakes on the part of the Hornets helped to keep the Spurs in possession of the ball.  Oberto was able to help out in several plays with some great passing, although his rebounding is still a bit weak.  With each team winning their home games, the decision maker in New Orleans should be interesting.
Win Or Go Home  Winner takes all is now the name of the game, there are no more games to use as a crutch to extend it.  This series has been taken to the limit, and it’s sure to be the best battle of all.  Chandler’s foot didn’t appear to be a problem for him tonight, but West’s back is an issue, which is great for San Antonio, but it diminishes the series somewhat if San Antonio can win it.  Udoka came out tonight and did everything we want from the bench, efficient offense, solid defense, and lots of energy, hopefully he, and a few others, can take that effort to another level in game 7, because this series is far from over.  The Spurs will need more hot shooting, even better defense, and a whole lot more rebounding to advance to the next round.  A little bit of luck wouldn’t hurt either.
Highlights
Duncan:  20 pts, 15 boards, 6 assists   Ginobili:  25 pts, 4 boards, 6-9 3 pointers   Parker:  15 pts, 4 boards, 4 assists   Udoka:  13 pts, 100% shooting, hustle
Paul:  21 pts, 6 boards, 8 assists, 3 steals   Chandler:  14 pts, 6 boards   Stojakovic:   13 pts, 6 boards
Closing Thought
Our thoughts are with David West.  While it’s a different type of injury than the foot problem Duncan had just a couple seasons ago, we understand how the dynamic of the team changes when a star player is hurt.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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