Coming off of a win against the Houston Rockets, The San Antonio Spurs enter their firth game in seven nights, taking on the New Orleans Hornets, who they saw ten nights ago in the Big Easy. In this strenuous season, on any given night, any team can win. Nothing can be expected this season.
The Hornets are fresh off a loss to the Phoenix Suns 120-103 in New Orleans last night. Steve Nash toasted them for 30 points (on 13-16 shooting) and 10 assists while Gortat chipped in for 23 (6-10 shooting) points and 11 rebounds. Although, both teams shot well all over the court, the Phoenix Suns lived at the free throw line, scoring 32 points from the stripe (shooting 32-39).
Spurs had to come back against the very familiar Houston Rockets last night. In doing so, Parker played 38 minutes and Duncan played 30.5 minutes. Tiago only played 17 minutes, making him the big with the least amount of minutes.
Look for Pop to introduce interesting lineups as this game is the fifth game in seven nights (and second back-to-back in this week). Pop will severely limit Duncan's minutes in this matchup, or not play him at all. Spurs no long have Malcolm Thomas on their roster, so look for big minutes (fouls withstanding) for Tiago and lots of small ball with Leonard likely seeing the 4-position.
Last time NOH met the Spurs, Jarret Jack continued his best season of his career, putting up stellar numbers against the Spurs. Although the game was a shootout, the Spurs made it difficult for themselves, by not limiting getting back on fast breaks.
Additionally, the Hornets frontline abused the Spurs front line.This prompted Pop to play Blair 9 minutes in the second half (no minutes in the 4th quarter). Pop rode Duncan and Bonner in the 3rd quarter, and then rotated Duncan and Bonner with Splitter to close out the game.
Keys to winning:
- Defend the arc: NOH went 6-12 from beyond the arc in their previous match up. Against the Suns, they shot 9-16 (56.2%) beyond the arc and 40-77 (51.9%) overall.
- Pound the glass: NOH had 11 offensive rebounds, out-rebounding the Spurs by +13 in their previous match up
- Limit the fast break: A big reason for Hornets jumping all over the Spurs was the fast break.
- Make life difficult for Jarret Jack: Without Eric Gordon, Jack has been having his best season yet, and made the Spurs pay, dropping 26 points on the Spurs. It wasn't until the 4th quarter, when Pop went to Danny Green on him. By then, he was too hot.
- Give the Splitter lots of time and give him the damn ball: In the second half of the previous game, Splitter sat out the entire 3rd quarter, but played the full 4th quarter. He was key in propelling them to win. He worked very will in a lineup with Bonner, RJ, Green and Parker.
- With Duncan, Spurs win an ugly battle, with Splitter, Bonner and Green leading the way.
- Without Duncan, it's going to be tough, but it gives Splitter time to dominate.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate.