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San Antonio Spurs Vs. New Orleans Hornets
ROUND - Western
San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Hornets Series Preview
Both the San Antonio Spurs and the New Orleans Hornets needed just five games to beat their First Round opponents. The Spurs handled the Phoenix Suns easily, while the Hornets eliminated the Dallas Mavericks.
San Antonio has shown scoring chops both outside and inside. Shooting guard Manu Ginobili, who used his quick hands on defense, stealing 1.5 balls per game, lead the club in scoring with 19.5 PPG. He connected on 40% from the three-point area and 86% of his free throws. Point man Tony Parker threw in 18.8 PPG. Together, he and Ginobili combined for 10.5 APG.
In the frontcourt, center Tim Duncan averaged 19.3 PPG, while grabbing 11.3 RPG. Duncan used his extension to block an average of 1.95 shots per contest. Veteran small forward Michael Finley showed some scoring prowess, putting in 10.1 points a game. As a team, the Spurs were just plus-1 in rebounding against the Suns. Duncan is really their only big banger under the net. The team shot 46% from the floor and 37% from downtown, both of which are sound.
The New Orleans Hornets, the surprise team of the season, scored an average of 102.5 PPG in the First Round. They put in a hefty 49% from the floor, 45% from downtown and 77% from the free throw line.
Point guard Chris Paul has been massive, averaging 12.2 APG, 23.3 PPG and 5.3 RPG. He’s made 2.33 steals per contest. David West, at power forward, knocked in 23.8 PPG, while taking down 7.7 RPG and notching 1.5 BPG. Center Tyson Chandler, with 1.67 BPG and 11.8 RPG, has dominated the paint. Small forward Peja Stojakovic and point guard Jannero Pargo have scored 16.8 and 12.5 points per game respectively.
The New Orleans’ defense held the Mavs to just 92 PPG, including 40% from the floor and 36% from the three-point arc. New Orleans played good, balanced basketball on both ends of the court in round one.
Although the Spurs can score, they are weak on defense. New Orleans has it all. They shoot well, play tough in the paint and ably pressure opponents. Can it be the Hornets I the Western Conference Finals? It is possible.
Maddux Sports Series Prediction:
New Orleans Hornets in 7 Games
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