I don’t think anyone really expected the Hornets to go up 3-0 on the Spurs, but I bet there were a lot of people rooting for just that to happen. A change in scenery from the Crescent City to the Alamo not only helped, but putting Bruce Bowen on Peja Stojakovic did too. Chris Paul had a 35 point night and nine assists, and David West got 23 and 11 boards, but keeping Peja from shooting deadly threes helps, as does the unfettered penetration both Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili got in the game. Both scored 31 a piece and spurred an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach. The onus is on New Orleans to take a game on the road now, because if the Spurs take both games at home, New Orleans will lose the momentum completley.
The Cavaliers are not screwed yet. It does not look good, but if Atlanta can take three games at home from the Celtics, so can Cleveland. But they’re going to need LeBron to show up in a more meaningful way. James had 21 points, but he shot 25% from the field in order to do it — and if he’s jacking up 24 shots, that’s a really bad trend for a team with no visible offensive set outside of “give it to LeBron and hell do something with it.” Shooting in the low 30% as a team won’t help either, and having Paul Pierce and Ray Allen break out of funks now isn’t a good sign either.
Photo: AP/David J. Phillip