Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wait, the Spurs-Hornets series is still going on?

I feel like its been forever since the Spurs and Hornets played their last game. When was that, Thursday? Anyways, I originally didn't have anything too worthwhile to say but as I reflected on game 3 I realized I have questions going into today's game.

Scott: The Spurs adjusted and then adjusted again and finally got the outcome they were looking for. Coaching is by no means a back and forth chess match but in some sense its Byron Scott's turn to rethink a few of his decisions. For instance:

How do the Hornets get Peja Stojakovic open? I would expect to see Peja coming off of screens out of the corner and looking for the catch and shoot. I can't imagine they'll just sit idly by and let Bowen make Peja disappear. But he doesn't have the footspeed or physicality to do it alone, so I'd look for Stojakovic to be doing a good bit more off the ball movement than we normally see from him, and for the other Hornets to be helping him create some distance.

Do the Hornets continue to double team Duncan? The Hornets have without question doubled Duncan everytime he has touched the ball. And I don't think that's a bad strategy on their part. Saying "if we get beat its not gonna be Duncan who beats us" is not a bad strategy. But I think they are increasingly between a rock and a hard place on this issue. Duncan has figured out how to effectively distribute the ball against the doubles they are throwing at him, and that had a lot to do with Ginobili's increased offensive production. The ball was finding Ginobili open on the perimeter with enough space to be creative and it seemed to me that the space was produced by the defensive adjustments the team made when Duncan had the ball in his hands. But, Duncan has been getting better every game in this Series (maybe he's not feeling sick anymore?) and now could be the worst time to move away from the double team. Chandler is a good defender but I'm not sure anyone in the legal is such a good defender they can really take Duncan one on one. I'll be interested to see how that plays out.

Can Tony Parker go shot for shot with Paul again? Or you could look at this from a different angle and say "how long can Paul keep this up?" Both of those really aren't questions of tactics to me. In my opinion both of these guys can get to the basket or get open mid-range looks pretty much whenever they want. The questions are will they continue to show the tenacity to go to the hole, where a pretty physical frontcourt awaits them, and will they both make their mid-range shots, which they don't always do?

Anyways, after we won last time I said being down 3-1 isn't that different from being down 3-0. We treated last game like a game 7, and we must do that again. I believe it is possible for the Spurs to steal a game in NO and take this series. I don't realistically believe we will win 3 in a row, with two of those being in NO. Either way, despite the hole we're in, this has been some very exciting basketball and I'd like to see it continue for as long as possible (its been so long since we've played its hard to remember that last game was actually quite good). So let's protect our house and go back to the Big Easy with this thing tied up.

Also, look forward to not only a recap of game 4 either late tonight or early tomorrow morning, but also a response to Dave Hickey's "the heresy of zone defense". A commenter who strongly disagreed with my post on Bowen as well as my Chris Paul blog day reflections asked me to read the essay, as he seemed to think it served as a rebuttal to my the general thrust of the arguments I was making. So I read it and am working on a response. So look forward to that. And read the essay. I would link to it but I have been having a hard time getting that function to work properly on my computer. If you google "the heresy of zone defense" it should come up. I don't agree with a lot of what Hickey says, but its decently written and presents a reasonably strong argument for his position.

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