(EARLY START TIME ALERT - GAME STARTS AT 2PM SPURS TIME)
Well, that last game sucked, no? Losing the streak to THEM felt a little bit like losing a favorite pet. But, there's no time to feel bad about it. Today, we take on the team that is nipping at our heels in the division race. New Orleans is 1 game behind us, and already beat us on our home floor. Now the game's at their place, and we need some revenge if we're going to remain atop the standings. If we lose this one, we go from 1st to 3rd in the West in the blink of an eye.
So let's try to win this one, OK?
And now, your pregame music, with no explanation.
I don't have anything clever to say, so let's get straight to the preview.
San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Hornets
Where: New Orleans Arena
When: 11/28/2010, 2:00PM Spurs Time - Timezone Converter
Watch: FSSW, CST
By the Numbers
Data source: basketball-reference.com
PG: Tony realled laid an egg on Friday night. His worst game of the season, it's fair to say. He's got to play better than that if the Spurs are to have any chance. On the other side, Chris Paul is a top 3 point guard in this league, and he's not going to be bothered much by Tony's defense.
SG: This is the biggest mismatch on the floor. Just because both of their last names are Italian doesn't mean Belinelli is anywhere close to Manu's level. When you play with Chris Paul, you don't always have to be good to look good, but Manu should, by all rights, abuse him tonight.
SF: Let me explain something about Trevor Ariza. His stats are bad - terrible, even - but his teams always seem to win more games than they look like they should on paper. I'm no longer of the belief that this is coincidental. He's helping his teams win in ways that don't show up on a traditional box score. RJ had a crappy game against Dallas, so hopefully we'll see a nice bounceback effort from him tonight.
PF: In contrast to Ariza, West fills up the box score like nobody's business. He's currently leading the NOOCH in scoring, and he's one of the best high post threats you'll find in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Blair seems to have regressed to the way he looked before he learned anything about defense last year. Terrible matchup for us, and I'm left once again wondering when Splitter or Dice will be moved to the starting lineup.
C: Okafor is one of the better defensive centers in the league, and he's no slouch as a low post threat, either(despite averaging a career low in points this season so far). You'll recall that he absolutely destroyed us in our first matchup with the NOOCH, and Friday's big game by Tyson Chandler doesn't give me a lot of confidence in our ability to limit his effectiveness tonight.
Willie Green is the new Marcus Thornton. This version plays defense, BTW. Also, if somebody could challenge Jason Smith's shots this time around, that would be great. I'm only giving us the edge here because of George seeming to break out of his slump the other night. We need him to be better than Jack to equalize Tony's disadvantage against Paul.
Pop begat Monty(in a metaphorical sense, not the biblical sense), and therefore Pop gets the nod. Monty has done an incredible job thus far, though.
cookin' court advantage. They've beaten us already. They play as a team, making the very most of what little they have.
The NOOCH managed to blow out the Blazers in Portland the other night, but more impressive is the way they did it. They just sort of kept it interesting for 3 quarters, and then it was almost like they "flipped the switch" in the 4th and turned it into a rout. Meanwhile, our guys have really struggled in their last two games.
I hope I'm wrong, but the NOOCH still look too good this early in the season for us to be able to go into their house and beat them.
Keys to the Game
Rebounds - New Orleans is one of the best teams in the league at making their opponents miss shots. The Spurs, not so much. With this in mind, it is absolutely imperative that we get up more shots than they do during the game. The more possessions and chances we have, the better the odds get for us.
Turnovers - Here's another area that can help us with the number of shots being put up. These two teams are roughly equal for the season in terms of how often they force their opponents to turn it over, but the NOOCH are taking care of the ball a little bit better on defense. Our guys can't afford to make many mistakes.
Contest jump shots - How did NOOCH kill us in the last game? Jumpers, jumpers, and more jumpers, with nobody bothering to contest them. Looking at the shot locations chart at hoopdata, you can see that the Hornets are 4th in the league in FG% from 16-23 feet out. While those are usually the shots that NBA defenses want to force teams into, I don't want to see Jason-freaking-Smith, David-freaking-West, or Marco-freaking-Belinelli getting wide open looks at shots that they regularly knock down.
48 Minutes of Hell - Check out their advanced scouting report, which is usually up around the same time as our previews on game day. Still the best analysis you'll find on a Spurs blog.
At The Hive(SB Nation) - Rohan and crew kept it rolling during the bad times last year, and are still going strong now that the team's fortunes have turned around. Pay them a visit, but be nice.
Fox Sports Southwest[San Antonio]; Cox Sports Television[New Orleans]; NBA League Pass
WOAI 1200AM; Audio League Pass[streaming]
As always, 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.
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