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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Hornets

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San Antonio Spurs vs New Orleans Hornets

AT&T Center
April 6, 7:30 Spurs Time
TV: FSSW- RADIO: 1200 WOAI, 1350 KCOR

The San Antonio Spurs return home from Boston with their 9th straight win, experiencing one of their ugliest games of the season. However, like the Spurs have done all season, they found a way to win. Although this team looks a lot different than the past championship teams, they seem to be building something for the postseason that looks formable. Tonight, the Spurs welcome the New Orleans Hornets to town. This game appears to be an easier matchup in the remaining schedule, but the Spurs need to be ready.

The New Orleans Hornets (14-40, officially eliminated from playoffs) last played on Wednesday at New Orleans Arena, beating the Denver Nuggets 92-94. Although they were missing Jarret Jack due to injury, they welcomed back their star player, Eric Gordon who has missed the majority of the season. He and Trevor Ariza led the team in scoring with 15 points apiece.

The Spurs, coming off one of their ugliest games of the season, defeated the Boston Celtics in a win that many would like to forget. They won despite their sloppy play and subpar performances from their star players. Although the team looked ragged in the second half and the offense struggled, they allowed Boston to only score 38 points on 40.5% shooting. Once I noticed that, I smiled a bit more. Keep your head up Spurs' fans.

Although it was ugly, there are positives we can take from the Boston game:

  • Manu Ginobili played really really bad. Yes, this is a positive. Why? They found a way to win despite Manu's game. However, he came through making the game winning pass to Matt Bonner.
  • Danny Green. How can you not love the guy? The schedule looks to be the culprit for some of his bad games, but when he gets some rest (as Pop has given him recently), we get to see a very well rounded role player for the team
  • Gary Neal played the role of Jekyll and Hyde. He did some stuff that made you want to scream at the TV, but he kept at it and hit big shots. As long as Pop can hide him on the defensive end and limit his PG play, he can provide some really interesting dynamics.
  • Matt Bonner. He had the game winning shot and finished with his first double-double of the season. His improved defense allowed him to stay on the court when Boston removed Bass and went to a smaller lineup.
  • They found a way to hang in there through their sloppy play and bad shooting in the 2nd half of the game. The 3 pt shot won't always be there so this is a good sign that they can find other ways.

Although Jarret Jack's status is uncertain due to injury, Eric Gordon is back and has to the potential to be even more dangerous. This game screams of a trap, but luckily they are in San Antonio. Look for Pop to jump deep into the bench early if the players come out lackadaisical. Look for Diaw and Mills to get play time as Pop continues to work them into Spurs game shape.

Keys to winning:
  • Attack early: Do not let this team hang around. They are young and athletic. Gordon is up for a contract soon and needs to show he's healthy and ready to go.
  • Get back on D/Take care of the ball: They are young and depend on running to get their easy baskets
  • Defend the arc: They aren't a good 3pt shooting team, but they can get hot, especially after getting easy baskets

Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Dejuan Blair

Key Bench Players
Gary Neal
Manu Ginobili
Stephen Jackson

Lineups

Starters
PG: Greivis Vasquez
SG: Eric Gordon
SF: Trevor Ariza
PF: Jason Smith
C: Chris Kaman

Key Bench Players
Jarret Jack
Carl Landry
Marco Belinelli

NBA Stats Cube Lineup Comparison Here. New Orleans Hornets perspective can be found here: At The Hive

Game Prediction: Spurs by 6. Pop opens up the bench after a slow start and plays guys who bring it.

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.