Monday, May 19, 2008

Game 7 Thoughts: Spurs-Hornets

  • Now that I've purged that Horry mess from my system...
  • Let's talk about how incredible the perimeter shooting has been in this series. Here's the Spurs during the postseason.

    Note how the corners are so hot. That's got a lot to do with the drive and kick, and how the Spurs secondary rotation always goes through that corner spot on the same side as Duncan,usually the left. If they're red hot from there it's pretty hard to stop them. Being in the red on 4 of 5 perimeter zones? That's crazy talk. Here's the Hornets.

    You can definitely tell where Peja likes to shoot. You can also see David West's influence on the right baseline.
  • Now, looking at Game Seven, here's the Spurs on the road in the playoffs, and this includes the Phoenix games where they were lights out, remember.

    See that left corner? And Tim's work on the left block suffers, too. That's a huge difference for this team. I think the top of the key midrange shot improvement is interesting, too. The Spurs don't like those kind of shots, they prefer them from the wing. But they're hitting a lot of them in the playoffs on the road. The left wing perimeter shooter is faring better as well. Who is that, you ask? Brent Barry. So if he comes in tomorrow, watch out. Conversely, here's the Hornets at home in the playoffs:

    The majority of those left side wing shots come from Peja. West usually operates in that side of the block, and with Paul driving to the other side, the defenses collapses in and to the right. Conversely, Morris Peterson sets up shop in the right corner.
  • The warning sign is how many jumpers the Hornets shoot. They shoot a ton of them and force a ton of them. As long as they're falling, this is fullproof. But if the Hornets have an off night, they're going home early.
  • Huh. What a great comparison. A boring, predictable film that features a number of exceptional performances that still fail to capture the imagination thanks to a slow and overdone script that's enjoyable every once in a while but gets really obnoxious if you have to watch it over and over and over again when it's on TNT every other three hours, and yet somehow, despite all odds, still manages to win the freaking Oscar despite all of the above reasons. Yup. That's the Spurs. Except I got bad news for you. The Spurs aren't Maximus. The Hornets are. Because towards the end of the epic battle, a cheap shot knife shot may end up eliminating their ability to effectively defeat an opponent they've effectively proven they can beat at home. Just sayin'.
  • Pop plans on starting Ginobili and Oberto, which shows you that the Spurs are no longer holding any secrets back. Thomas is deadly with the mid-range J off the bench. The real question is whether they go back to the set with Ginobili running point in the half-court set with Duncan on the right side. It creates an impossible matchup for any team. Leave Duncan in single coverage, and Duncan is scoring, Chandler is getting a foul, or both. Bring the double, and Ginobili has a three. Double and recover, and Ginobili can take the recovering defender off the dribble due to the momentum change. Rotate defenders from the corner or wing to cover Ginobili? Uh-oh. 1-2-3. Corner Bowen three pointer, wide open. For some reason, the Spurs abandoned this strategy in Game 5. That's called "suicide"kids. We'll see if Pop gets back to it.
  • Conversely, Peja is slowly figuring out that "Hey! I'm slow and can't take hardly anybody off the dribble! But Bruce Bowen is smaller and weaker than me! Neat!" If he exploits that, he's going to get hot and start hitting impossible threes. And that's bad news for the Spurs.
  • We've seen one superstar fail to a superior team effort in a Game 7 yesterday. Does Chis Paul suffer the same fate?
  • Jannero Pargo has to hit some shots. He needs to take fewer of them, hit more. Pretty simple.
  • Parker needs to attack the basket. Even if Tyson Chandler blocks it, he needs to go back to it. The odds are better that he'll draw a foul or get by Chandler than they are that he'll get blocked every time.
  • I'd love to say that Bruce Bowen's shooting streak will finally come to a merciless, average-returning, logical universe justifying end. But he's pretty much thrown that out the window in this series and continued to light up like the Fourth of Ju-ly.
  • Spurs win if: Parker/Ginobili 50+ and Bowen 15+, Off. Eff>108, West<15
  • Hornets win if: Paul 20/15, Chandler 15/15, Off eff>115, Peja>37% three-point shooting
  • Hang on, kids.

 
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