Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hornets-Spurs -- Game 5 thread

The point differentials in the first five games: 19, 18, 11, 20, 22. The 1993 Western semifinal between the Sonics and Rockets, which went seven games (all won by the home team), had the following point differentials: 9, 11, 18, 11, 25 and 13 for the first six games. Game 7 then went overtime, which the Sonics won by three. The Rockets missed go-ahead shots in the closing seconds of regulation and overtime.

It's over. Hornets, 101-79.

West: 38 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocked shots. One of San Antonio's many trademarks during its run of titles is the assembling of a roster with role players who can contribute unique skills (e.g., 3-point shooting, rebounding, defense, etc.) when they are needed. This roster lacks a single player who can slow West. Perhaps Luis Scola? Oh, that's right. He's gone.

Spurs played another good first half in New Orleans, but the Hornets just took control in the third quarter and ran away. Hornets lead the series, 3-2. Can either team win a road game? Game 6 in Thursday. Game 7 would be Monday.

Udoka for 3. Spurs within eight, 85-77. 4:45 left.

West has 34. Hornets, 78-63.

Hornets outscore the Spurs, 28-11, in the third quarter, lead, 72-58. West has 30. Duncan, meanwhile, is 4-for-16.

Peterson for 3. Hornets, 68-54.

Paul fouled again, more free throws coming. Hornets, 65-54.

Peterson for 3. Hornets, 64-51.

Chandler from Paul. Hornets, 61-51. The run is now 17-4.

Spurs' offense is stagnant. Ginobili and Parker need to get going to the basket.

Paul hits two at the line. Hornets, 59-51.

Paul again inside. Hornets, 57-51. New Orleans is continuing the trend from the first two games -- a big third-quarter surge, 13-4, to open.

Chandler blocks Duncan, and the Hornets are running and outhustling the Spurs.

Paul for 3. Hornets, 55-51.

Paul's runner gives the Hornets the lead, 50-49.

West has 24. The Spurs have no answer.

Spurs lead at the break, 47-44. They held leads in the first two games in New Orleans too, but the Hornets blew open the games with huge third quarters. Can they force the tempo again?

Parker has disappeared during stretches of some of the Spurs' playoff runs in the past, but he has been absolutely fearless throughout the first two series this year. He is settling for nothing, constantly attacking the defense, taking heavy punishment, and coming back for more.

Hornets taking advantage of slips/turnovers by Parker and Ginobili to crank up their fastbreak. Tie game, 43-all.

Neither team is shooting well. The game has no flow. Play is somewhat ragged. All of this favors San Antonio, which leads, 38-32.

Ginobili for 3. Spurs, 37-30.

Paul gets his first field goal on a drive with 6:09 to go before halftime, and 1. Hornets within 3, 31-28.

West now guarding Duncan 1-on-1 and holding his own without a double-team.

Ginobili's first attack of the basket, draws a foul. Spurs, 29-22.

Duncan gets his first basket, and 1. Spurs, 28-22.

Spurs lead, 23-21, after 1.

Double personals and double technicals on Ely and Oberto. In the end, this will have no impact on the game. But step up and make a call. Gutless move by Joey Crawford.

Parker pushes through Ely on the break, and 1. Spurs, 19-13.

Offensive foul on Chandler, who goes to the bench with two personals. 3:17 left in the first.

Parker and Bowen for 3. Spurs, 14-13.

West is 4-for-4. Hornets, 13-8.

Spurs open 1-for-9; Duncan 0-for-4.

West has found his outside shot again. Hornets, 9-3.

Hornets are delaying the double on Duncan until after the second dribble.

Ginobili's ankle is still bothering him -- and significantly more than he's letting on. He has no explosion off the dribble, failing to take Peja on consecutive drive attempts.

Hornets active on defense early, but they give up two offensive rebounds on the first possession.

The Spurs' adjustments the past two games -- most notably, Bowen guarding Stojakovic -- have not only help even the series, they've positioned San Antonio well for tonight and beyond.

For New Orleans to bounce back in Game 5 and ultimately win this series, the Hornets will have to outwork the Spurs, and relentlessly push the basketball, which would do wonders for all, especially Stojakovic and his transition 3s.