Spurs Can’t Take the Sting Out of New Orleans


As the last 2:30 minutes of this game tick off the clock, both teams have emptied the bench.  It has become painfully obvious that there are some things the Spurs need to address.
1Q  The game started out competitively, as always, with both teams trying to assert themselves.  Chandler would pick up two fouls early and go to the bench.  Yet, even without him, the questions are posed.  Is the Hornets D really this good?  Or is the Spurs passing getting sloppy?  Before the quarter would end, Ginobili would start to get frustrated, and the early signs of him forcing things appeared.
2Q  Manu opened the second with a 3.  While this would usually be a good sign, the Spurs would repeatedly throw risky passes.  After 5 1/2 quarters in round 2, we are discovering that Julian Wright will be very good someday, showing a lot of energy and doing the most fundamental things on defense.  San Antonio would go into the half with a lift, as ‘The French Flash’ would hit a buzzer beater to lift San Antonio to a 1 point lead.
3Q  The first half displayed a lot of missed shots, and the Spurs continued to brick 3s in the third.  Ginobili’s frustration would continue, as he is making rookie mistakes on perimeter defense.  After a couple of touchy moments, cooler heads would prevail, with no technicals.  New Orleans would continue to settle into a groove throughout the third, and Ginobili would pick up his 4th foul, as the third closed with New Orleans up, 78-61.
4Q  Popovich would sit Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan down at the beginning of the third.  Whether it was supposed to be purely motivational, a message, or punishment, it wouldn’t change the outcome.  Chandler and Ginobili would each finish with 5 fouls, but neither on the court as time wound down.  The Spurs go home in a 2 game hole, as the Hornets win 102-84.
Review  San Antonio needs somebody to simply shoot the ball.  They are over passing, giving it up as soon as someone runs towards them.  Somebody needs to just rise up, shoot the ball, and start hitting the shot, or getting fouled.  New Orleans won’t be able to leave the perimeter so distantly guarded if they know the shot will be taken.  Sometimes, a player is just too open, and that’s why they miss the shot.  Some dicey moments have arisen in the first two games, and I will confidently say, before we come back to New Orleans for game 5, somebody will  have been suspended, and their logo will probably have an insect on it.  So far, everything has been broken up quickly, but emotions are running high, and I think David West is approaching a breaking point.  Duncan was more involved tonight, but the bench really needs to come alive and do SOMETHING that shows up on the stat sheet.   It’s improving, SLOWLY, but they need to do more, do it earlier, and do it longer.
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Back To San Antonio  The Spurs have looked like they’re in a haze in these first two games.  Perhaps they still haven’t recovered from the Phoenix series.  However, somebody needs to suck it up, rally the troops, and REBOUND.  New Orleans is walking away with too many easy rebounds, San Antonio will shoot and run the other direction, leaving 3 Hornets to fight over the ball.  Any good 5th grade coach can tell you somebody needs to rebound.  It may be part of the game plan for most of the guys to get into transition D, but there is always 1 or 2 guys looking for the offensive put back.  Also, the passing needs to be cleaned up.  Whether it’s desperation, or the Hornet’s defense is that good, the Spurs are doing a lot of driving, and just throwing it in the general direction of a teammate.  They should probably do some passing drills with some coaches yelling at them to put some mustard on it, but that’s Pop’s call, not mine.
Duncan:  18 pts, 8 boards   Barry: 14 pts, 3 assists, 4-5 3s   Ginobili:  13 pts, 4 boards, 7 assists
Paul:  30 pts, 12 assists   Stojakovich:  25 pts, 6 boards   West:  10 pts, 10 boards, 5 assists   Parker/Ginobili: 8 0f San Antonio’s 15 turnovers
Shooting Trend  Once again we see New Orleans shooting 48%, and San Antonio shooting under 44%.  The Spurs need to start hitting their shots efficiently if they would like to see a game 6.

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Michael is the founder and editor of ProjectSpurs.com. He has a long history in journalism, sports and online media. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others.