New Orleans Hornets 96, San Antonio Spurs 72

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There is no sense in dwelling on this one. The Hornets crushed the Spurs tonight.

One night after holding the Atlanta Hawks to 59—yes, you read that correctly—the Hornets defense held the Spurs, arguably the best offense in the NBA, to an embarrassingly low 72 total points.  Everything was embarrassingly low for the Spurs, in fact. The Spurs lost the rebound war by 25 and only managed to score 12 and 10 points in the first and third quarters, respectively.

New Orleans, whose defense was anchored by Emeka Okafor’s interior presence (5 blocks), officially has everyone’s attention. Simply put, New Orleans’ team defense was easily the best San Antonio has seen all season.

Bright spots for San Antonio (other than the fact that the game is over):  George Hill’s sprained thumb did not force him to miss consecutive contests, Tiago Splitter made the most of his minutes (led the team with 11 points), and Larry Owens played well in the extended garbage time that was the 4th quarter. Who knows if Owens will stick with the Spurs, but one got a sense of why the Spurs were willing to offer him a 10 day contract.

Finally, even though Gregg Popovich is sure to not like the outcome of this game, I’ll bet he’s proud of Monty Williams. It’s always nice to leave a 24 point beat down with a silver lining under your arm. It makes the bus ride easier.

  • Easy B

    Health is our biggest concern, followed by defensive development as a team and individuals, followed by offensive consistency. A one game beatdown is not, though N’orleans just moved down the playoff wishlist a few more slots.
    We simply need a steady win clip until all star break, minimise the evident mid season wear, put the full squad back together for the ridiculous March schedule and hopefully win at 66 clip the rest of the way. If we can do that, we are on our way to the WCF again.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Sigh… About all of these endless big-man trade scenarios – Can we please give it up?! A trade for a flashy but marginally productive center or power forward simply isn’t going to happen and wouldn’t help us if it did.

    Look fellas, I’m not saying that McGee isn’t talented. He obviously is. But he’s not producing much, other than in blocked shots, and he blows so many assignments while pursuing those blocks that it’s not really that much of a positive factor. He has not yet shown an interest in playing defense–he’s only interested in intimidating other players. It’s not the same thing and at the championship level intimidation doesn’t really happen. If Paul Pierce has an opening to the lane in the playoffs against McGee, he’s going to take it. McGee will try to intimidate him, it won’t work, and one of three things will happen: two free throws for a great shooter and McGee goes to the bench with too many fouls, a three-point play and McGee goes to the bench with too many fouls, or Pierce makes an assist to McGee’s man for a wide-open dunk. That’s how McGee plays. You don’t need a big man who intimidates people. You need a big man who makes other teams less efficient on offense. Look at how well teams play against Washington and you’ll see that McGee simply doesn’t do that. And neither does Andre Blatche, so let’s not trade for him either.

    Think about it: If Washington had a strong defensive presence in the middle, with all their perimeter talent, why are they WINLESS on the road after 20 games? They’re a terrible team that is desperate for a big man, yet McGee doesn’t get that much burn for them. Doesn’t that tell you something?

    I’m sorry to say it, because his Mom and his aunt were two of the all-time great women’s players, but McGee is a knucklehead. I had hoped it would be different after he nearly made the USA national team this summer, but he’s back to his old tricks. If Flip Saunders doesn’t play him 30 minutes a game on a team desperate for a big man and if Mike Krzyzewski doesn’t give him a roster spot on a team desperate for a big man (remember, they were so short of big men that they played Lamar Odom at center), what makes you think McGee thrive on the Spurs? Oh yeah, “RAW TALENT”. Key word there? Raw. As in unrefined, or not yet rendered into a usable state. Like I said, he’s a knucklehead. The Spurs don’t trade for knuckleheads and knuckleheads don’t play well for the Spurs. So please give it up. This incessant demand that the Spurs acquire mediocre big men, when their record is 37-7, is just a waste of time.

  • SG

    “Im glad that there was a silver lining, no injuries.”

    Add the play of L. Owens…I like that kid

  • jwalt

    So glad to see so many Spur fans try to remain calm in a time that calls for panic. Sheesh. Can you imagine what will happen if we go through a spell like the Mavs have had recently? There will be calls to fire Pop, trade Tim and Manu, blow up the team! We are fine. We have and will continue to have bumps in the road. The NBA season is a marathon. Right now Manu looks sluggish, Hill hasn’t been sharp and no matter what anyone thinks we miss Bonner. Things aren’t perfect but they could be a whole lot worse.

    Four of our losses, as someone pointed out, are on the back end of back to back games. I basically discount those games.

    It is important to get home court against the Lakers, but I don’t see that not happening. Because we are THAT GOOD.

  • Tyler

    @ Tim in Surrey

    Agreed. With the way this team has played, there isn’t any reason for a major shakeup.

    The only way the Spurs might be involved in a deal is as a facilitator, a third team that makes a larger deal possible. Other than that, I doubt we’ll see much, if anything.

  • rob

    Wow. It was just a suggestion. Not even close to saying the Spurs were doomed if they don’t at least look into something if it’s a possibility to help the post presense of the Spurs improve.

    I get it. The Spurs don’t do that many mid-season trades. Does that mean they don’t even look or hear out a possibility from or to other teams?

    I bet you’d be wrong if saying they don’t because Pop has said before in the past that IF the right situation would ever present itself the Spurs would always at least listen to the idea.

    McGee isn’t as bad as some are saying and not that he would be “The” answer either. But definately a presense that would “upgrade” as a whole what is there now.

  • Tyler

    @rob

    Re-read my post – it sounds like I’m coming down on a McGee trade a little harder than I intended. I just don’t think Washington wants to move him.

    However, like you said, if the right deal presents itself (one that makes us better THIS year), I’m sure the Spurs would pull the trigger. It’s just that based on our performance so far, I doubt there’s any meaningful deal out there that makes us better immediately.

    But I wouldn’t be surprised if we were part of a multi-team deal in which we acquired picks or cap relief at the expense of a Quinn or Owens (assuming we signed him for the rest of the year).

  • rob

    @Tyler

    I wasn’t projecting my response to any single person. Nor do I think any response to the contrary was out of line just because it was different than mine.

    Thank you for clarifying though. I agree to your post:

    “It’s just that based on our performance so far, I doubt there’s any meaningful deal out there that makes us better immediately.”

    Those are hard to find this time of the season unless a team is looking to blow up their roster. But some losing teams also look to tweak their roster for the future even if giving up one particular good aspect if they think they are getting another aspect that would make them better. A young backcourt of Wall, Young and Anderson would be well worth looking into for another Javelle McGee type in the near future.

    A Javelle McGee type of player on the Spurs would make it well worth it to give up Anderson since finding good perimeter players has never been an issue for the Spurs. But landing good young post players has seem to be their achiles heal. My belief…McGee would be better than what the Spurs have managed to land the past couple of years. And…they still would keep Splitter and Blair if only Splitter would still be a “project”. McGee would definately not be a project. He’s consistently improved year after year and has proven that he could at least provide what “perhaps” the Spurs were hoping this year Tiago could provide.

    But I can understand that some are tired of hearing trade proposal ideas. I try my best to not make outlandish proposals and always focus on (even if it probably wouldn’t happen) at least suggest an idea that might fall in the realm of possibility taking into account salary, talent, need and potential.

  • betsyduncan

    jwalt, I’m with you. And, yes, Matt makes a difference.