Spurs (15-9), Hornets (4-19)
It was over when
the Spurs went on a 7-0 run to build a 14-point lead with just 1:48 remaining. Tony Parker drained a 20-foot jumper to cap the decisive spurt, which began with San Antonio protecting an 84-77 advantage. New Orleans led 45-44 at halftime and trailed by only a 71-68 margin through three quarters, but for the second straight night couldnt keep up the offensive pace down the stretch.
Hornets MVP: Sometimes the only silver lining to injuries in the NBA is that they can open up additional opportunities for players who otherwise may not have gotten them. That was the case Thursday for Greivis Vasquez, who made his second career NBA start in the place of the injured Jarrett Jack and played well. After producing the best game of his two-year pro career Wednesday, the Maryland product followed it up with 16 points and five assists. He led the Hornets in the first half with 12 points, helping stake them to a lead.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: The recipe for NOLA offensive success during a large chunk of the first half was rather simple. Get the ball to Carl Landry and let him go to work in the paint, then repeat. The power forward was consistently effective in beating his man off the dribble or on post moves across the lane. He scored 11 points in the first half, part of his 17-point performance.
The buzz on
the need for a go-to guy on offense. Hornets TV's Bob Licht and Gil McGregor touched on this during the final minutes of Thursdays loss, but one factor behind the Hornets sputtering in the fourth quarter has been that they lack a definitive No. 1 scorer. Even during the regular season, games tend to slow in pace in the final period, meaning teams are more reliant on their halfcourt attack and generally dont get as many easy baskets in transition. The Hornets have had balanced scoring in many games usually a positive trait but it also means that there is no obvious answer to the question Who has been our most dangerous offensive weapon in this game? Certainly the absence of Eric Gordon couldve rectified some of this problem, though its difficult to determine how much based on his brief court time. Landry is probably the player who most closely fits the description of someone a team can lean on to get bucket after bucket in key moments. The majority of the Hornets wing players are reliant upon being set up for open shots by others, not necessarily comfortable putting the ball on the floor to create for themselves or slash to the rim.