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.

  • betsyduncan

    And the Celts lost.

  • DorieStreet

    The Spurs lost to a hot team (8 straight now) that is only 3 games out from having the best record in the league (along with 7 other teams). A loss was predictable, but not this bad. Let’s take the last 2 on this short road trip and finish off the month with a victory over the Rockets and be 40-7 at the starte of February – and the rodeo road trip.

  • Matt in OC

    Can’t win ‘em all.

    Would like to win against playoff teams tho.

  • DorieStreet

    Correction—3 games out from having the 3rd best record. Need to be intense vs Warriors–they have won 4 straight (playing Clippers now), and Jazz are on a 4 game losing streak but are still 27-17 –can’t take them lightly.

  • Nima K.

    3 things I noticed:

    1. Owens did play well. At least much better than Udoka did. He had determination and energy.

    2. Correct me if Im wrong: Our “B” team (quin/tiago/owen/blair/neal) outscored our “A” team (manu/duncan/parker/rj/mcd) on a per minute basis, even though they only played just over a quarter.

    3. I don’t think NOLA played superior basketball. But rather, we sucked. We were clumsy, unfocused, and showed no interest in wining. I mean, Manu and just 4 pts? What gives?

  • andy

    it’s human nature to be unfocused, and a beatdown certainly knocks you back into your place when you’re atop the mountain. hopefully this helps sharpen us for the RRT.

  • SpurredOn

    This kind of road performance was bound to happen. That it took over half the season is quite impressive. Not having Bonner to space the floor hurts and certainly the team appeared tired on a back to back. But overall the team has been playing only slightly above average in most recent games. Manu has shot at or above 50% only twice in the past 13 games. This type of game has been waiting just beyond the horizon and finally appeared. Glad to get it out of the system and now refocus; perfect timing for the team bonding and bunker mentality that the RRT provides.

  • betsyduncan

    I miss Bonner, too—but not as much as our team does.

  • lvmainman

    Will Ginobili ever make a 3 point shot again? 1 for 15 in the last 5 games!

    That trade proposal I made of Paul/Okafor for Parker/Jefferson/Splitter was for a defensive big man that single handily stopped Ginobili twice, Parker once, and Duncan to 2 for 11.

    I’m still doubtful about the Spurs being able to beat elite teams with big men come the playoffs.

  • Spurholic in Mumbai

    Given the doubts which have lingered despite a league best record, Spurdoubters (including Spur fans) will get a chance to say “I said so” after tonite’s performance.

    It was a strange game, the first quarter was like a low energy practice session with both teams found wanting at the shooring average with no major offensive rebound by either teams. Spurs played the second unit in IInd qtr, got a 5 point lead which the starters frittered away. 3rd quarter was another enigma, why did Coach wait so long to make substitution, almost 9 scoreless minutes, with NoH making shots consistently. A “whipassing” if there was one.
    Maybe, and a big maybe given the falling goal percentage for starters, esp Ginobli and RJ, give them a rest in the next two matches and get them back well rested.

    And now the doubters will start again. Here we go…

  • Bruno

    Very ugly game, in third quarter they +21 points and +12 rebounds, TD have 2-11 and 5 reb, -29 points when TP was in field, -24 when RJ( best ofensive fouls player of season?) was in field, Ginobili last 3 games 1-12 3s and just 4 points today, they have 8 blocks and us ZERO, 57 rebounds vs 32. But is good see Splitter play 20+ minutes, making some mistakes but showed good defense and made some moves, Larry Owens seems good defender and can score in the paint or 3 point line( i think is much better than Udoka).

  • Jax

    Our problem is that we can’t consistently play well against playoff teams. Hopefully the rodeo trip gets this team in shape.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Len

    Any longtime fan should know that the Spurs lay an egg like this a few times every regular season and once or twice in the playoffs. Yawn…it’s just one game.

    Spurs are fine.

  • http://searchingforslava.blogspot.com dave m

    As a Lakers interloper, can’t say I’m unhappy about your loss but it’s hard to see it as anything other than a rare off night and then you move on. If you guys start making it a habit, then I’ll take more interest and start counting things like games back. One can always hope.

  • junierizzle

    Relax everyone. You guys are starting to sound like LAKER fans.

    Every team gets blown out, EVERY TEAM.

    And give credit to the HORNETS. They really did play good D. BOth teams were playing good D, then the 3rd quarter happened. And yes, BONNER is missed.

  • ThatBigGuy

    (Channeling my inner Cartman) Sick! Gross!

    Poor Warriors, gonna get hammered…

  • rob

    So this is what happens when I don’t watch a game.

    Looks like there were too many low points to pick out just one so I won’t bother asking what happened.

  • rob

    This isn’t a panic post so here me out.

    I think we can all agree that the Spurs most inconsistent play from the team this year is from the post. At this time and probably the rest of this season Tiago doesn’t appear to be able to grasp all the intricacies of the nba much less Spurs basketball. And he may one year in the near future eventually become a decent player.

    Washington is going nowhere this season. They have a bevy of bigs on their team. Josh Howard is once again injured and probably not ever going to return to being a dependable good player. Washington’s weakest area is their perimeter players. Wall is proving to be as talented as expected but without decent players to share in the perimeter…at this point he’s a one man show in the backcourt.

    A proposal I wouln’t mind happening if just to inquire is trading straight up Anderson for McGee. The Spurs haven’t needed Anderson since his injury and are proving to win without him. McGee secures the post giving Duncan and McDyess ample rest between games.

    Spurs solidify their post while the Wizards get a young duo of Wall and Anderson to build around for the future. Blatche appears to be their main post leader with plenty of young yet talented bigs to develop or trade.

    I don’t know….some may consider giving Anderson away before even getting solid minutes as a bad idea. But the injection of a young player like McGee in an area the Spurs need help the most may help this team become better now and in the future without Anderson than if Anderson remained on the Spurs.

    Both first round picks McGee #18 and Anderson #20 makes this an even swap yet gives both teams an upgrade at positions they’re the weakest.

  • tradetp…..forCP3

    Disgusting game on everyones part.

    Get McDoosh out of the system. Tiago is every bit of the player that Antonio is right now and what 15 years younger?

    Paul lit up Parker, but again that was expected. Tony has trouble with the defense.

    Nima- Blair is a starter, not McDoosh.

    Are there really people calling for Matt Bonner? HILARIOUS….

  • tradetp…..forCP3

    By the way:

    SPURS ARE 8-2 WITHOUT BONNER….

  • Bentley

    They basically did to us what we did to them the last time they played in San Antonio. Just one game. With our insane start to the season, we can handle a few bad games like this.

    Thank God, the Spurs havent been playing anywhere near their best basketball. If they were then maybe we would have reason to worry about a loss like this. But at the same time, the guys in silver and black have to play much better over the second half, and not make any excuses for losses like this one

  • agutierrez

    As much as I’d like to see Manu make the All Star squad, and he certainly deserves it, I hope he gets left off so he can rest. For that matter, same for TD and TP.

  • rj

    i am going to go with the positives. to start, nola fans are reengergized about hornets basketball which is good for the franchise and the nba. tiago got some conditioning and experience against one of the better frontcourt defenders in the nba. those little flipper shots aren’t going to cut it. larry owens played aggressively. i wonder what him and cp3 were chatting about. this is a game where we needed bonner’s floor spacing to keep okafor away from the basket. hurry back, matty

  • Kintaro

    I’m as big a Tiago optimist as anyone, but I’ll tell ya, I didn’t much enjoy his performance in this game. One of his strengths is supposed to be PnR offense, but his picks weren’t very effective. He rarely disrupted the on ball defender, and also seemed to drift out for a perimeter shot more often than rolling hard to the basket. And ofcourse none of this helps when playing with Quinn or Hill who almost never pass out of the PnR unless it’s to a shooter on the perimeter. He needs a significant amount of work and I do not think it is realistic to expect him to contribute in this year’s playoffs.

  • Tim in Surrey

    @Rob – I think it’s a good idea to give up on the trade scenarios, as there’s no way in hell Pop or RC are going to make one now. But even if they would, the trade you proposed won’t happen, for a few reasons: First, there’s no way Washington gives up McGee for an untested rookie wing player. They already have a talented one in Nick Young, Anderson has only played in six games so far, and big men are much more valuable. Additionally, McGee seems to have a lot of appeal around the league. He’s undeniably talented, although there are a lot of questions about his ability to harness that talent. But lots of front offices would take a gamble on him and would be willing to give up much more than James Anderson. Anderson and a #1 pick probably wouldn’t even get it done because our picks are so low. Second, he wouldn’t work here AT ALL. McGee is long, quick, and very athletic and he loves to block shots. But he’s not the brightest guy around, so why should he adapt any faster than Tiago? And he has never shown any interest in things like setting a good pick or sticking to his defensive assignments. Pop would hate him and he knows it.

    Sorry, I understand your frustration, but it just isn’t going to happen. The glass-half-full solution, though, is to be thankful that we got a big game from DeJuan on Friday and a pretty good game from Tiago on Saturday.

  • BayAreaSpursFan

    The Sky is falling! The Sky is falling! The Spurs will be fine. I don’t know the reason for the blowout and I don’t really care. It happens Im glad that there was a silver lining, no injuries.

  • TD = BEST EVER

    @ Tim in Surrey

    “Second, he wouldn’t work here AT ALL. McGee is long, quick, and very athletic and he loves to block shots. But he’s not the brightest guy around, so why should he adapt any faster than Tiago?”

    2 words – RAW TALENT – the same thing we can say about Blair last year – when he played, even if it was only a few minutes here in there, he left his mark on the games with his rebounding……. McGee is top 5 in blocks last time I checked…. that leaves its mark on a game much faster that “great PnR D, or high bball IQ” as we say with Splitter…..

    The Spurs could really use another Big man with PROVEN Talent. One project(Blair) is enough for any team that’s trying to win it all THIS year! I think we should look to make a move to sure up these holes. We have shown these holes on Offense and Defense and I will explain why in the next post

  • TD = BEST EVER

    2 biggest concern that I have seen this year are:

    1st Issue – Lack of another physical interior presence
    – TD needs some help on the boards (last night he had only 6(not getting it done) and has had a few games this year when his rebounding has been underwhelming
    – Great Shot blocking can basically shut down a team with Great penetrating guards (See. last night and the 1st Milwaukee game) So adding a 2nd shot blocker will improve both our post and our guard Defense

    2nd Issue – Poor play making – We have 7 players who can score on 20 points on any given night. SEVEN. I don’t know the exact number, I’m sure someone here will have them, but we have 3-4 guys who are all in shooting slumps. By my count RJ, Manu, Neal, and Hill are all shooting poorly the last 10-15 games or so. That’s way too many people and way too talented a group for this to be happening.

    I can’t think of a time where a Kidd, Rhondo, or Nash lead team had something like this happen. So I put this on TP and IndyG for not helping themselves or others get High Percentage Looks at the basket….. We have always had shooting slumps during a game now and then….. But for this Offense to have as many players in slumps at the same time means that we either have a flawed offensive system or need better play/decision making from those running the system. You decide

  • The Beat Counselor

    As far as losses go, this was a good one.

    I don’t like super long win streaks as they draw attention to the team, and tempt the coach to overplay starters to extend the streak.

    An 8-game win streak is perfect; once a team hits 9 games people (and the media) start talking about that possible 10-game win streak. Win 8, lose 1. Perfect.

    We also blew our load against the Knicks the night before to avenge our previous loss. We overplayed our starters on the first night of a difficult back-to-back and viola.

    BTW that’s the second time we loss the day after Tim went for a triple double on the first night of a back-to-back (I know he didn’t get one against the Knicks, but close enough). See the GSW/LAC back-to-back.

    Otherwise, we lost to a defensive beast, coached by a former Spur assistant coming off an ultra-dominant defensive performance over a quality playoff team.

    If we lose to anyone, I prefer it be to a team that plays defense the way that I wish we would.

    Hard to watch my team lose, but this was a decent one to drop.

    Alright, I’ll be at the Spurs game on Monday against the Warriors. Exciting times.

    Go Spurs!

  • zainn

    man, we have 9 more back to backs through the rest of the season, and three straight back to backs in the rodeo road trip. who makes the schedules? Are they trying to set clear advantages for other teams? yes every team has back to backs set in their schedule, but it really ruins the essence of a fair game in terms of fatigue for teams. i wouldnt mind the regular season being a week longer if it would reduce the amount of segababas((back to backs)slang from ptr))

  • ruth bader ginobili

    Only caught the first half, but looking at the box score it seems the game was lost by a 21-0 NO run in the 3rd quarter.

    In that quarter, Ariza, Bellini, West, and Okafor combined to shoot 10-12 for 28 points. Ariza went 3-3 from deep in that run; for the season, he averages 1 for 4 on threes per game.

    Just a fluke hot streak from an emotional team that always gets up to play the Spurs.

  • calispursfan

    TD=best ever

    You should really stop dreaming and throwing out these ridiculous trade scenarios. Do you recall the Spurs making any moves to acquire a player mid-season which took us to the finals in previous years?

    NEVER

    We stick with the team we assemble in the offseason, only minor moves made. Have some confidence in our team- McGee has zero play-off experience. He will get bitched around.

  • The Beat Counselor

    @zainn

    I totally agree with you. How about the season being a month longer and nobody has a back to back ever? In a league that is so driven by individual talent, you’d think that they would limit the amount of physical wear and tear wherever they could.

    As for the schedule makers, if I’m not mistaken, I read somewhere that the Lakers only have 9 back-to-backs this year whereas everybody else has significantly more.

    Lame.

  • zainn

    @thebeatcounseor
    I guess that’s what the lakers receive for countless years of luxury tax payments to the nba. It’s okay though i’m glad we’re so far ahead of the rest of the conference that we dont have to stress too much on winning back to backs. And honestly timmy is looking better than last season. GO SPURS GO!

  • TD = BEST EVER

    @ calispursfan

    You should really stop dreaming and throwing out these ridiculous trade scenarios. Do you recall the Spurs making any moves to acquire a player mid-season which took us to the finals in previous years?

    NEVER

    Well have you ever seen our D this poor – NEVER
    and too other who keep comparing this season to other championship seasons. Let me say that things in the NBA are Different now. The last time we won the NBA wasn’t so top heavy. Teams weren’t loading up on ALL -Stars like they are now, they were trying to grow/draft their own stars. Now everybody wants to import an All Star or two and we need to catch back up to a league that we once OWNED……

  • tradeTP4CP3

    First of all Blair is a starter not a reserve. Next Tiago showed that he plays every bit as well as McD solidifying the argument that he should be getting the minutes and Antonio should be gone.
    Finally the talk about “missing Bonner” is hysterical. We are 8-2 without him. Everyone who has been a Spur fan longer than this year knows what happens in the playoffs.

  • Bankshot21

    I loved this game. Fourth quarter alone was invaluable. Splitter has moves and was able to display them. Good for him! Nice way to remind Pop that he’s “worth a damn”. Lol. I’ve never been one to panic so I won’t start now. They have always played us well. I was looking forward to a 3rd double digit win streak but I guess we’ll have to wait for that to happen.

    Go Spurs Go!!!

    P.S. Root for my JETS tonight ladies and gents. They are the opposite of our Spurs which brings balance to my life. J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets!!!

  • bugbomb

    I can’t believe anyone thinks that McGee could be the solution to the Spurs defensive problems. If Ian Mahinmi couldn’t get off the bench in several years, McGee wouldn’t do any better.

    And I believe that the entire existence of the Spurs as an elite basketball organization over the last 10 years disproves the validity of this comment:

    “McGee is top 5 in blocks last time I checked…. that leaves its mark on a game much faster that great PnR D, or high bball IQ.”

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ TDBE

    While I appreciate the fact that you are always looking for a trade that strengthens a percieved weakness, at some point you have to accept the fact that the FO doesn’t make trades in the manner you suggest, especially mid-season.

    Besides, we all know that new players take a year to get the system. Trading for a new player won’t help this year anyways. Trading for guys who have serious concerns about their BBIQ or attitude towards the game is an even bigger no-no for the FO.

    The main roster is set. Time to dance with who ya brung.

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  • Junierizzle

    I know its tough to lose but there is no wat they are making a trade.

    Also, people keep saying that they “struggle” with the playoff teams. They are 37-7. They’ve already beaten Lakers, Jazz,Thunder,knicks,Blazers,Denver, etc.

    They cant win em all.

  • Tyler

    @rob

    Outside of Wall, McGee is the closest thing to untouchable on that roster. McGee is the most athletic 7’+ in the league by a long stretch. And even though he’s only averaging about 27 mpg, he’s second in the league in blocks. Take a look at his game logs from about the second half of last season on – he’s a near lock for a double double and 3 blks when he gets more than 30 minutes.

    It would absolutely shock me if Washington moved McGee for anything less than an All-Star-caliber guy. He’s young, extremely talented, and cheap – all things rebuilding teams are looking for.

  • Daniel T

    It’s been reported that McDyess had tweaked his knee a week ago against Denver. Though he indicated that he doesn’t think it’s serious, he’s failed to score in the past two games in 30 minutes.

    Bonner had tweaked his knee the game before McDyess, and he’s now missed the past four games. It could be that McDyess should be resting his injury, but that leaves only 3 bigs including Tiago.

    If McDyess could wind up being ineffective while playing with his tweaked knee for a long period of time, maybe it is time to trade him to a team that will waive him so that he might have at least a 30 day rest prior to re-signing with the Spurs.

    If Bonner is now about ready to go and McDyess is fine, the Spurs should be fine and not mix with the team’s chemistry. It might also wind up that the injuries are just the opportunity that Tiago has needed, and that Owens can take up some of the minutes at the four. But if Bonner is going to continue to be out for an extended period and McDyess is not completely healthy, perhaps trading McDyess would make some sense.

  • lvmainman

    That trade proposal I made of Paul/Okafor for Parker/Jefferson/Splitter was for a defensive big man that single handily stopped Ginobili twice, Parker once, and Duncan to 2 for 11.

    Out of 7 potential championship contenders, Celtics, Heat, Magic, Bulls, Mavericks, Lakers, Hornets against the current makeup of the teams, Spurs are 2-5!!!

    We beat the Magic before the trade and lost after. We beat the Mavs twice without Nowitski. We beat the Lakers when Bynum didn’t start. Those 4 victories are Fool’s Gold!

    The Spurs are the Suns, Warriors, of the past. Good enough for conference 2nd rd or finals but not championship caliber. I haven’t seen it yet.

    If no trades are in the future, Spurs Nation will be extremely disappointed.

  • zainn

    yes, but the thing is lvmainman is that the spurs have much more experience than the warrior and suns of the past have had. Even thoug our bench is somewhat young, we can make the most of it if we are healthy. If we have won so many games this far with manu and timmy with limited minutes, imagine the damage we can do if timmy plays 40mpg (which I doubt will happen even if we are in the playoffs.meh

  • Daniel T

    lvmainman:

    I’m not sure how you come up with your 2-5 record vs. the “current makeup” of a chosen set of contenders. The Spurs have beaten New Orleans twice while N.O. has had their current makeup, whereas their two wins could be considered “fools gold” due to the Spurs being without Matt Bonner both games.

    Do you eliminate the win over Chicago as not being their current make-up? Boozer is now in, though Noah is now out. If you’re going to throw out the two Spurs wins over the Mavs without Dirk, you should maybe throw out their win over the Spurs as they no longer have Caron Butler (and haven’t looked very good with Dirk back but Caron out).

    While the Lakers didn’t start Bynum, he did play for 23 minutes. It’s difficult to tell that playing another 6-7 minutes rather than Odom would have made up 15 points. Since Bynum has become a starter, the Lakers have lost to Memphis, the Clippers, and a struggling Dallas; while having close victories over the likes of the 76ers, Phoenix and the Warriors.

    Boston had a decisive 2 point victory over the Spurs on their home court while the Spurs were on the second game of a back to back. The Celtics somehow shot 61.3% on their FG’s and 55.6% on their 3’s while the Spurs shot 45.3% and 40.9%; though the Spurs could have won on their last play. The O’Neals played over 40 minutes between them, but perhaps shouldn’t be considered as part of the current makeup of the team that just lost to the Wizards as neither are playing due to injuries.

  • rj

    lvmainman- way to panic. not only is your trade scenario illogical, but you obviously have no faith in our current roster. we have improved greatly from last year and we were STILL able to get past dallas last year. relax. 3 of those losses against elite teams were the second games of back to backs where we struggle greatly. i like our chances against any other elite team in a seven game series. i think we need to find ways to rest duncan and ginobili. pop has tightened up the rotation as of late, but we need to use our depth to it’s fullest in the regular season. splitter and anderson (when healthy) must play

  • Bankshot21

    Lmfao @ Ivmainman. Possibly the single worst breakdown of head to head play with the “elite” teams that I’ve ever seen. Why is Miami on the list when we haven’t even played them. We have an 8 game win streak snapped, while still in the midst of a 16 game home win streak and we still have people saying its fools gold. Do you know how many people would loooove to win 8 then lose 1? As stated 4 of our loses were on the back end of back to backs. The playoffs have ZERO back to backs. We’ll be fine barring major injury.

  • wannabe_fan

    I’m not supporting the McGee trade that was suggested, but there was another commenter on this topic:
    “Do you recall the Spurs making any moves to acquire a player mid-season which took us to the finals in previous years?

    NEVER”

    I guess everyone has forgotten the Rose for Mohmmed trade in the middle of the 2004-05 season. Now while I’m not going to say that Nazr by himself led the Spurs to the promised land, I believe that we won a title in 2005 with a mid-season trade…

  • lvmainman

    @ RJ

    Very perceptive. I’m skeptical in the Spurs ability to win a championship having watched them play contenders. This is a phenomenal team for the regular season, the Big 3 with championship pedigree as seen in the 4th qtr comebacks and to beat the inexperienced teams (Thunder, Trailblazers, below .500 squads), lower IQ teams (Nuggets, below .500 teams), a great coach at using role players and matching up (but, I did dislike small ball with Jefferson on West in the 2nd half vs Hornets).

    The only way I can see the Spurs (as is) being champions is if they have home court advantage thru the playoffs. Then, hopefully the home court will bring the best out of the role players to help the Big 3 in winning a championship by going undefeated @ home.

    Cause I’ve yet to see Bonner excel in the playoffs. Or Blair/Neal/Anderson/Splitter etc. Duncan struggled dominating Frye or Lopez vs the Suns. Matching up vs Bynum, Shaq, Howard, Chandler(did abuse him this yr though) will be tough for Duncan in playoff matchups.