Hornets’ Season Ends with Game Seven Loss to Spurs
I’m disgusted. Not because we missed so many wide open shots. That sort of thing happens. But I’m truly disgusted at our hustle. The Hornets’ lack of effort tonight was sad to see. Tyson Chandler played his butt off, but what did the rest of the players do? Bonzi Wells with 2 fouls and nothing else in 5 minutes? Peja Stojakovic with 4 rebounds in 32 minutes? We were the young team, we were the more athletic squad, we were the ones with the spry legs. And we let an aging Spurs squad- the oldest in the NBA- beat us to loose ball after loose ball. Robert Horry, Michael Finley, and Ime Udoka each had 4 times as many boards as Morris Peterson, and Mo played way more minutes than any of them. Kurt Thomas outrebounded Peja off the bench.
Really, other than knock down an outrageous number of threes, all the Spurs did to win was hustle. That was all they need to do. Was experience a factor? In my mind, yes. The Spurs realized how much harder they’d have to play in a Game 7 because they’ve been there before. The Hornets came out with subpar energy, not realizing how much more intense a Game 7 is.
Now, on to Jannero Pargo: those last 5 minutes were some of the most excruciatingly painful I’ve seen in a while. I don’t care if Pargo had the "hot hand" (and judging by his 6-16, that wasn’t exactly the case). Why not finish your season taking one last swipe with the strategies that brought so much success? Why not run the pick and roll and let Paul create? Let David West post up? I’m disappointed in Byron Scott for letting the Hornets’ offense devolve into a JP chuckfest. I’m even more disappointed in Chris Paul for telling JP to keep shooting, for refusing to take the ball into his own hands. Seriously Chris? You’re the best point guard on the planet, and you’re telling your backup point guard to run up the floor and fire wildly at the hoop? We all know the General is more than willing to oblige such orders. From what I saw, the Hornets panicked from a coaching and executing standpoint.
As far as the rest of the bench… I don’t know what to say. Other than the General, we had two guys combined to play 9 minutes, pick up 2 fouls, and score 1 point. The Spurs’ bench? 54 minutes, 22 points, 6 threes (that’s 2 more than the entire Hornets team), 7 OREBS, 18 rebounds. Every analyst out there pointed to the bench as the weak link that would doom this team. With the season abruptly over, it’s time to face that reality. Without bench help in the offseason, these Hornets are not contenders.
Some final thoughts: The Hornets are now 0-3 all time in Game 7’s. For all his late-game shots, General Pargo registered a team worst -10. Which to me, makes total sense. He came in, he chucked, he made a few, then chucked some more while Paul, West, and Peja all looked on without a word. Julian Wright did not play. Let me repeat that again. Julian Wright did not play. With Mo-Pete and Predrag a combined 5-18 from the floor, Julian Wright did not play. Ugh. Chris Paul fouled out for the first time all season. The Spurs shot 76% as a team from the line during the season. Tonight, they shot 91%. The Hornets shot 77% from the line during the season. Tonight, they shot 70%.
[top image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattmc89/]