A bicycle is an ordinary everyday object, but to New Orleans Hornets head coach Monty Williams, a bicycle was the San Antonio Spurs, and the Hornets were the person who could not defend the bicycle.
“We couldn’t guard a bike if we were riding it tonight. It was unpleasant to watch our guys allow that much penetration over and over again.”
There’s a reason Williams wasn’t happy with his defense on Saturday evening in the AT&T Center, his team allowed the Spurs to score 128 points, shoot 61% from the field, and win by 25-points, as the Spurs extended their winning streak to 10-games, 128-103.
“They have shooting, they space correctly,” said Williams, “they execute out of timeouts.”
Shooting wasn’t a problem for this Spurs team as they shot 50% (9-of-18) from behind the arc, 81% from the free throw line, passed for 31-assists, and kept their turnovers at their season average (13).
“Defensively, they knew what we were running, they took us out of our stuff.” Continued Williams, “That Spurs team is about as complete as any team I’ve seen.”
Williams was right, the Spurs held the Hornets to 47% shooting, and only four Hornets players were able to score in double figures, but most of those points came in garbage time.
“Point guard play, they have the guards, they have four or five guys who can run pick-and-roll.” Said Williams, “they have a post option in Tim and Splitter, they space the floor well, and Pop has those guys ready to play.”
Tony Parker only played 16 minutes, but he collected six assists in the limited action. Backup point guard Patty Mills (14 points) was a big part of the win, as the team went on an 18-3 run sparked by Mills’ energy to blow open the game in the second quarter.
Manu Ginobili (14 points) and Gary Neal (13 points) also produced against New Orleans as they both shot over 60% in the game off of the bench. In fact, every Spurs player in uniform scored five or more points in the route.
Williams mentioned Duncan and Splitter, they both controlled the paint as Duncan lead the team in scoring with 19 points, while Splitter lived at the free throw line where he made more free throws (4) than field goals (3) for his 10 points.
“We just did not stop them,” said Hornets center Jason Smith, “flat out at all.”
Smith was correct because his team allowed San Antonio to score more than 27 points in every quarter. The Spurs had 72 points by halftime, and their bench set a season high record in the NBA with 82 points. The Spurs also had six players score in double figures.
With the win, the Spurs have taken over the number one seed in the NBA as the Oklahoma City Thunder (40-15) were defeated by the Indiana Pacers earlier on Saturday, allowing the Spurs move to 39-14 on the season, and holding the tie breaker over the Thunder.
The Spurs improve to 22-4 at home, and will have practice on Saturday before playing the Utah Jazz on Sunday. The Spurs have now scored more than 107 points in five of their last six games, while they also own the only two double digit winning streaks this season in the NBA.
“I heard coach tell us they’ve been averaging 115 points,” said The Hornets’’ leading scorer Eric Gordon (31 points), “I mean that’s crazy.”
But Gordon knows why the Spurs can score so much and win, “They play fast,” said Gordon, but he also mentioned one more key detail about San Antonio, “and they play smart.”