Below is Charley Rosen's take on Game 6. This is an outstanding re-cap. One of his best of the year. However, given the format, I wonder if he ether got really tired or had a very quick deadline. Either way, he spells it all out for you. He is also about the only member of the larger national media that I would ever give any credence to.
Spurs shoot their way into Game by Charley Rosen
1) REPEAT! REPEAT! San Antonio wins whenever it shoots well from the outskirts. Before garbage time filled the tail end of the fourth quarter, the Spurs shot a collective 20-for-37 from outside. Included in this total was a 11-for-21 mark from downtown.
2) Tim Duncan played lock-down defense on David West. The latter was 4-for-14 for 10 points, a far cry from his stupendous 38-point output in Game 5. Duncan's length, footwork and aggressiveness did the trick. Also, TD played up in West's chest, forcing him to drive to help spots.
3) Manu Ginobili came to play — 9-for-15, including 6-for-9 treys, for 25 points. No surprise there.
4) Gregg Popovich designed a game plan that would free Duncan — usually by running screen-and-rolls that involved two other players, then having TD make dive-cuts at the appropriate times.
5) In the second half, the Spurs doubled Chris Paul on screen-and-rolls and also whenever and wherever else they could corner him. By taking the ball out of CP's hands, the Spurs forced his teammates to make the ball-distribution decisions Paul usually makes. That's primarily why New Orleans totaled only 13 assists (on 33 baskets) to go with nine turnovers. In Game 5, its numbers were 24 assists and six turnovers.
6) Ime Udoka had the game of his life off the bench — 5-for-5, including 3-for-3 triples, 2 assists, one steal, one block, and 13 points in 21 minutes.
7) Tony Parker made a total of eight faulty decisions with the ball, ranging from ill-advised passes to forced penetrations. Even so, he managed 6-for-13, 4 assists, 2 steals and 15 points. Yet the most redeeming aspect of Parker's game was his jump shooting — 3-for-5.
8) The Spurs' ball movement was superb. Extra passes were the rule and unselfishness was their guide. Credit them with 28 assists on 38 buckets.
9) While the Spurs didn't run too many screen-and-rolls, they got good production whenever they did — eight points on eight screen-and-rolls. David West was frustrated by Tim Duncan, then reaggravated a back injury. (Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)
10) Fabricio Oberto — 2-for-4, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 points — passed well, set sturdy screens and played excellent position defense.
11) What might be the most significant key in Game 7 was the crushing back-screen that Robert Horry set on David West. If West is still hobbled Monday night, the Hornets' season will be over.
All in all, a highly predictable resurrection game by the defending champs. If there were several keys to the Spurs win, there were also several locked doors that the Hornets were unable to open.
1) Duncan's aforementioned defense on West, who seemed to so unnerved by this surprise matchup that he missed several wide-open jumpers.
2) They never could get any kind of handle on Duncan. On 13 sequences, the Hornets doubled TD on the catch and the Spurs wound up connecting for 20 points. TD was doubled twice on the move, with the Spurs scoring two points. Duncan was played straight up five times, with the home team generating six points. The Hornets fronted Duncan once and he tallied a dunker.
3) The Hornets' dreadnaught high screen-and-rolls were just about negated by the Spurs' two-timing tactics. Twenty times the Hornets undertook their money play, and it produced only 12 points.
4) Paul had a solid if not explosive performance — 9-for-18, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers (all on offensive fouls), and 21 points. However, most of his scoring was created by his individual brilliance.
5) Except for Tyson Chandler's occasional quickness to the ball, the Hornets' defensive rotations were tardy.
6) West was especially inept in defense of screen-and-rolls.
7) While Peja Stojakovic has his moments on offense — 5-for-10, 13 points — and took it to Bruce Bowen by design, his defense was atrocious. Especially against Udoka.
8) The Hornets got nothing from either Bonzi Wells or Jannero Pargo when they needed a boost.
Besides excitement, the impossibility of a blowout and a rip-roaring crowd in New Orleans, what else might be expected in Game 7? San Antonio will likely have Duncan guard West for most of the game — probably after Oberto bangs him around for a few minutes. The Spurs will also concentrate on having Parker cut down on his mistakes. They must find a way to prevent Paul from killing Parker in the low post. And, rest assured, Paul will have to combat double-teams at almost every turn.
For the Hornets to win, they should have Chandler (and Melvin Ely) play Duncan straight up, conceding TD his 30 or so points, while staying in touch with Ginobili, Parker, Bowen and Udoka. Post CP against Parker and see how the Spurs react. To neutralize the double-teaming of Paul, use Pargo as the lead guard and have CP3 curl, drive and/or pop off weak-side screens. Monday night is precisely why we love this game so very much — because Game 7 is NBA heaven.