It was a different kind of Game 7 tonight between the Spurs and the Hornets. There was a nervous feeling from the start of it and instead of a confident Hornets team playing as if they were the better team (at least more talented), they played tentative and were afraid of taking the big shots until their backs were pinned against the wall. The Hornets played not to lose as opposed to playing to win.
In contrast, the Spurs just took what the Hornets defense gave them. I thought about it many times, should the Hornets double-team or not. I'm still a little torn, in hindsight, it's easy to say no double-teams because of the way the Spurs made them pay. But at the same time, Duncan 1v1 against Chandler is an almost automatic score, so is Manu 1v1 and Parker as well. Against the doubles, the Spurs just made the extra pass to find the open man, and boy did they make the Hornets pay for those double-teams,
The Spurs didn't really do anything special at all tonight. To be honest, I thought their defense was average tonight, the lack of Hornets scoring was primarily the result of the Hornets trepidation more than anything else.
On offense, the Spurs didn't run any special Pop plays, they reacted to the Hornets double teams by making the extra pass to the open man.
Against the Trapped PNR:
In the 1st quarter, the Hornets decide to trap the Parker and Duncan PNR. Parker gets the ball to Bowen who finds Oberto down low. Because of the double-team, it's basically 2v1 in the paint and Oberto kisses it off the glass,
Against the Post Double-team:
The Hornets have been double-teaming Duncan on the dribble ever since Game 4. The Spurs ran this play like they knew the end result before it even happened. The problem is that because of the rotations, CP3 has to go all the way over to the opposite corner to close out Udoka, and he's too late,
The Spurs have once again found a way to win a tough game on the road in the playoffs. I'm not sure if Pop has enough tricks up his sleeve against Phil Jackson and top seeded Lakers. The matchup is an amateur coaches dream, to see 2 of the game's greatest basketball minds play chess and see who ends up with the checkmate, I can't wait...
As for the Hornets, they have the brightest of futures ahead. This 7 game series has really taught the younguns a lot. I like the quotes that Coach Byron Scott said after the game:
You have to go through some things before you can really understand how good it's going to feel when you get to that next level. You don't go from not making the playoffs to winning a championship. It just doesn't work that way. ... We're headed in the right direction.
For a relatively new video from a great basketball mind, check out Tubby Smith's DVD on his Offensive Philosophy. Coach Smith focuses on the secondary break leading into whatever motion offense you run. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.