By Toney Blare
-Spurs take the lead at the end of the half, though, with TP finishing a beautiful reverse and CP3 hitting his FT’s.
-So Aggrey’s gonna say that the “Quick Change” act is not what I hyped it to be, but I’m telling you, they just had an off night. I saw the woman who changes her clothes in a flash back in the tunnel, and I think she had a limp, mighta sprained her ankle, but played thru it. Whatever. “Quick Change” is real.
-When the teams come back out to shoot, Bonzi makes his way down to rap with Mighty Mouse, perhaps about all the times they “smoked it all up.”
-Peja buries a 3. Stephen Jackson of the St. Louis Rams, a Saints division rival, is introduced and mildly booed.
-CP3 wants Bowen bad. Every time they face off, Chris bucks and bumps, flails his arms, and then when he scores this time, to make it 54-47, he sticks his tongue out at Bowen quickly, avoiding a tech but really taunting ol’ boy. I mean, he really hates him.
-Duncan’s temper is flaring as he tries to reason with Dick Bavetta. I tell Aggrey that you rarely see an old man bitched out in public. In most real life situations, people would call you out about it, but here, the old dude just touches the giant’s wrist and goes on his way.
-I feel like Bowen is getting ready to pull some ish.
-Another Peja 3, 70-56. Ely spins Duncan for 2 and shouts at Pop, “Now who shoulda been starting last season?! What!” Well, he should have.
-Chris ends the quarter with a lay-up and a 17pt lead. He really shifted gears in the 3rd, has 24 & 11, and no MVP trophy.
-West picks up a stupid tech by shoving Horry after a beautiful move. Then Barry misses the FT, and stupid turns into statement. We both agree that West was an unlikely choice for attitude-guy this post-season, but that’s what he’s becoming.
-Just as we’re sayin we haven’t seen much of the TCP3 4 ft alley-oop in the playoffs, they hit one, emphatically.
-Peja makes a great save. If that dude is going to play like this—hitting his shots (5/7 from 3 tonight) but also scrapping and rebounding—I don’t see why the Hornets can’t win the West.
-The crowd stands for most of the last 5 minutes. This place gets louder and louder and is flat out not the same arena as it was in November. Hard to overestimate
-With 3:00 to go, Pop pulls his starters, and Byron follows suit. Another 48 Hrs takes the court with Mike James, Pargo, and Hilton. For some reason, Bones Barry has 14 pts. Mike James hits a long jumper, then a 3, then jacks up an airball. Mental note: ask Jacque Vaughn: how does he feel when he plays against Mike James?
-Game ends, 102-84. Aggrey thinks this thing might only go 5. Seems too easy, but there’s really nothing the Hornets aren’t getting. The Spurs look a lot like the Mavs right now—a little old, pretty thin bench, not enough energy. We’ll see
-Pop responds to a reporter’s question about the big blowouts these two teams exchanged thru the regular season and these 2 games: “Yes, you’re right. You’re a very accurate young man.” That’s why I came into the media room.
-In the locker room, Bonzi is clowning Mike James for his belt buckle, which reads “Fighter.” “What’s that say, Mike? ‘Tighter?’” Which is a good name for a belt buckle, really.
-I ask Julian Wright about the difference between the reg season and the playoffs. He says there’s a lot more focus on each play, on maintaining the intensity. What are the vets telling you? “To keep it simple, do what I do.” There’s nothing simple about dude’s game, but he definitely is doing what he does and the intensity level is right in tune with the situation. It’s hard to imagine what he’s gonna be like in 3 or 4 years, but games like this are pretty invaluable.
-In the street next to the arena, a brass band blares amidst a crowd of fans who keep whooping the Ric Flair-CP3 call. It’s getting crazy in the streets of New Orleans, and in a good way.