1Q Early in the game, Thomas was called for a foul, and soon after Chandler was whistled for a hard foul on Parker, and with that, the tone for this game was set. Oberto seemed a bit sluggish on defense tonight, but it didn't matter who was guarding West, he hit everything. With Parker, unable to get a call all night, getting roughed up every time he entered the lane, Bowen caught the bugs by surprise and attacked the rim for 2. Soon after, Chandler would pick up his second foul and head for the bench. Before the period would end, the refs would get whistle happy, calling a double personal AND double technical on Oberto and Ely, and not long after call a double delay of game. After the quarter's end, San Antonio's 'favorite' ref, Joey Crawford, would T up Popovich, but later on they'd be found laughing with each other.
2Q Neither team was playing tremendously well, but San Antonio's role players would be shooting a bit better than their counterparts from New Orleans. Chandler being in foul trouble, West did as good a defensive job on Duncan as you could ask him. With Horry in the game, we were surprised to see him get up the court in time to disrupt a CP3 fast break. San Antonio would extend their lead one more point, to 47-44 at the break.
3Q West picked up right where he left off in the first half, continuing to be an unstoppable force on offense. The Spurs still don't hit the offensive glass the way they should, leaving multiple Hornets to fight for the ball several times. Perhaps it was because of the treatment Parker received throughout the first half, but San Antonio played passively throughout the third, settling for jump shots and hot potato passing as opposed to attacking the rim. With about 8 minutes to play, the game morphed into the Chris Paul show, as he nailed a 3, attacked the rim, saved the ball, and grabbed a big rebound. New Orleans would once again have a huge third quarter at home, racking up a 14 point lead before the fourth.
4Q With Parker and Duncan on the bench, New Orleans continued to roll. Oberto would soon pick up his fifth, indicative of many of the silly fouls San Antonio committed earlier in the game. Early on, Chandler would get a bruised foot, and need to be helped to the bench. Popovich would soon stick Duncan and Parker back in the game, and Barry would finally show some gusto and attack the rim for a 3 point play. This would prompt more Spurs to attack, but it was too little too late, as New Orleans reclaimed the series lead with a 101-79 lead.
Review Duncan had a monster game on the boards, grabbing 23 of the team's 41. What everyone else on the team is doing, I don't know, but I can tell you they sure aren't putting a body on anybody, as New Orleans claimed 50. When Paul rises up and grabs a board with a BIG black jersey on either side of him, something is wrong. There isn't much to say here except to repeat what I say every game, the bench needs to PRODUCE. Udoka had 9 points, the rest of them had 10. The big 3 will do what they can, but they still need help from somewhere. That being said, David west was a monster tonight, posting 38/14/5/5 from 64% shooting, with a pinched nerve in his back. Pure heart right there. Kudos.
Do Or Die I have no doubts that the big 3 will play better at home again, but they'll need to return to Louisiana regardless. Over the next two games, in addition to the 3 stars, the San Antonio bench will need to step it up. They'll need to hit their shots, stop the silly fouls, REBOUND, and frustrate anybody who didn't ride on their bus to the game. The two San Antonio wins have been off the backs of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili, who make up 25% of the roster. If the other 75% make a steal here, a shot there, a rebound here, and consistently get a body on somebody when a shot goes up, San Antonio will win this series. If they don't, Olympic preparation will start for some of them.
Duncan: 10 pts, 23 boards Ginobili: 20 pts, 7 assists Parker: 18 pts, 4 assists
West: 38 pts, 14 boards, 5 assists, 5 blocks, 2 steals, 64% shooting, heart Paul: 22 pts, 14 assists Peterson: 12 pts, 4 boards, 4-6 3 pt
There was hope that a healthy Tim Duncan would be the difference, and San Antonio would grab home court advantage tonight, but it was not to be. New Orleans once again won on their home court.