New Orleans Hornets Rout Spurs in Game One
Well, I caught the game on TNT, and unfortunately I have to say I never saw as many Peja heads, or "Serb-sickles" as expected; all I got were a few fleeting glimpses of them running around after a Predrag triple. But instead of drowning you in my despair about the lack of coverage the Peja heads received on TNT, good news everyone, the Hornets won!
1) The biggest story had to be Hugo as Super Hugo, who later came out as Inferior Hugo in the 2nd half. That was a great dunk, Hugo really had it done through the ring of fire, until the cleanup crew panicked and sprayed fire extinguisher chemicals all over the floor. Not Hugo’s fault at all, but it was funny listening to the TNT commentators poking fun at him. Hugo is in his rookie year in 07-08 here, and he looks to ‘bee’ here for a long time as our mascot.
2) But in all seriousness, David West, AKA the 17 ft assassin, X Factor, Fluffy, etc. was an absolute beast today. His 30 points came throughout the game, he had his right/left hand finishes, off the dribble, and catch and shoots to score, he pretty much did everything. His offensive intensity really carried N’awlins through this one, and then add his 9 rebounds and block. CP3 had an easy offensive option in the 17 ft. assassin, who knocked down everything today, really winning the match-up over Timothy. Every time the Spurs made a slight run, D West came and hit a shot in their face. Kurt and Oberto could absolutely not defend him. Coach Pop will definitely make him a priority on D for Game 2.
3) Chris "MVP" Paul was absolutely fantastic as well, but the stat sheet doesn’t show it as well as the actual game did. The game seemingly started like Game 1 against the Mavs, with Ginobli and the Spurs going up 11. Paul was able to make a lot of good plays, setting up Peja and D West time after time. He ran the offense really well. The 13 assists doesn’t show how many plays he was able to set up. Plus, that run we had in the third, was all Paul with his shots and big passes. And count those last two buckets he made, those were huge in stopping any chance at Spurs comeback.
4) The D on Tim Duncan was fantastic. He was limited to just 5 points off 1-9 shooting, that was the key point here for New O. In the 37 minutes he played, Duncan just hauled 3 in boards, the doubling on him was a great idea. Ginobili and T-Park were both able to get their drive-in layups, but the D on Duncan made the difference. That’s taking out a huge chunk of the Spurs offense, around 20 points which Tim normally gets. Bruce had a good three-point streak, we were scared for a bit, but he failed to do it again in the second half. I don’t think Bruce could repeat that in other games, it’s not much of a concern unless he’s left that wide open too often. Ginobli, though, had 7 assists and his 19 points, and many of those assists went straight to Bowen on threes. Still, the Hornets did a fairly decent job on Parker and Ginobli defensively, and an excellent job on Duncan.
The Hornets continue on the streak they started during the season, winning against the Spurs at home on blowouts. Hopefully Game 2 will be another W, but Coach Pop will be sure to get Duncan involved more offensively and D West covered a lot more. However, expect Fluffy to continue his dominance, I honestly don’t think Francisco and Thomas can guard him at all. Bonzi had a nice 10 points off the bench, hustling on the rebounds, while General Pargo played a more limited role. I still think JP will break through again, so nothing to worry about. And lastly, the CP3-Bowen exchanges were slightly weird and funny. Remember this?
[top image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thepaco/]