San Antonio-New Orleans: Third Quarter Unkind To Spurs As Hornets Take 2-0 Lead

Dan SiegelSenior Analyst IMay 5, 2008

Maybe the San Antonio Spurs can petition the NBA to eliminate halftime.

Any momentum the Spurs may have gained from Tony Parker’s three-pointer at the end of the first half, giving San Antonio a 43-32 lead over the New Orleans Hornets, quickly vanished as once again the New Orleans Hornets dominated in third quarter, outscoring San Antonio 36-18.

This was a gruesome sequel to what happened in Game One, as the Hornets outscored the Spurs 29-17 in the third quarter of that game after San Antonio had gotten out to a 49-45 lead.  New Orleans never looked back in that contest, blowing out the Spurs 101-82 behind David West’s 30-point performance.

West was not quite as dominant in Game Two, and Tim Duncan showed improvement over his five-point effort in Game One, but nevertheless the Hornets found a way to shut down the Spurs.

In Game Two, the focus seemed to be for the Hornets to shut down the Spurs’ drives to the lane, typically led by Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.  New Orleans would collapse its defense, similar to a hockey team trying to keep the puck away from a cherry-picking sniper, to force the Spurs to take perimeter shots.

While the Spurs are generally able to counter these kinds of defenses by draining three-pointers, San Antonio struggled from beyond the arc for most of the game.  On the contrary, Peja Stojakovic put on shooting clinic, three-point and otherwise, spearheading the Hornets’ offense along with MVP candidate Chris Paul.

The Spurs were at their best when they made quick passes and were active without the ball.  They were active on the boards and gave themselves multiple opportunities on many trips down the floor, but did not capitalize on such chances.

While the Hornets were able to score on a consistent basis, the Spurs would suffer offensive droughts for prolonged stretches, such as at the beginning on the third quarter, from which they were unable to recover.

Many like to say that a series doesn’t begin until a team wins a road game, but the New Orleans Hornets have gotten off to a mighty fine beginning with their 101-82 and 102-84 victories over the San Antonio Spurs.