The San Antonio Spurs up and down season comes down to tonight’s game at the AT&T Center. Win, and the chance to defend their championship is still alive. Lose, and they will stay home and watch with the rest of the country to find out who will claim their title. The Spurs spotted the first two games of the series to the Hornets by a wide margin. Tim Duncan was playing sick and had two terrible games, which gave New Orleans life, and put the Spurs in a deep hole. Road teams have had virtually no chance in this year’s playoffs, which should give the Spurs confidence going into tonight’s game. Unfortunately, should they win, game 7 will be in New Orleans on Monday night.
New Orleans inside presence will be weakened as Tyson Chandler and David West are both banged up. Chandler has a bruised foot, and West has a back injury. That should mean that San Antonio will go early and often to Duncan, Oberto, Thomas, or whoever is playing inside. Of course, David West was hurt for the last game as well, and still went off for 38 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 5 assists. Duncan had another off-night, only managing 10 points, but accounting for an amazing 23 rebounds. Ginobili lead the team with 20 points, 2 rebounds, and 7 assists, but the game was a 101-79 blow-out as New Orleans took over in the second half to open a big lead.
Robert Horry set a new record with his participation in Game 5. When he entered the game, he became the player to participate in the most playoff games in a career with 238. He passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the leader in that category.
One thing San Antonio has never been able to do is to repeat as champions and successfully defend their title the following year. After the 1999, 2003, and 2005 championships the team lost before reaching the Finals. This year, the Spurs find themselves in a similar position with the season requiring them to win two straight to keep the dream alive. This is the time of the season when the Spurs’ veteran leadership should come into play and allow them to at least push the series to a Game 7. Winning in New Orleans is no small task, but first San Antonio must get through tonight’s home game to have a chance to defend their title.