New Orleans Hornets vs. San Antonio Spurs Preview and Pick

New Orleans Hornets +9 (49-32) at San Antonio Spurs -9 (53-28) 8 PM ET Wednesday April 15, 2009
By Jason Green at

Tonight the New Orleans Hornets close out the regular season in the Lone Star State taking on the San Antonio Spurs. Both of these teams will make the playoffs, but this last game will have an effect on the playoff seeds. There are a lot of possibilities to explain, but here goes. The Spurs need help in order to win the Southwest Division, as they are tied with Houston, but the Rockets own the tiebreaker. The Spurs have to beat the Hornets and hope the Mavericks can beat the Rockets. If that happens the Spurs will get the number 3 seed in the West.

If that scenario happens the Spurs will take on in state rival Dallas in the first round and the Hornets will play Denver in the opening round.

If the Spurs lose tonight they will be the 5th seed in the West and will not have home court advantage in the first round. The Hornets will be the 6th seed in the West if they either win tonight or Dallas loses to Houston. The Hornets will be the 7th seed in the West if they lose tonight and Dallas beats Houston. Whew! With all this said, this game is important to both teams. The Spurs have won 3 in a row and are 6-4 in their last 10 games while the Hornets are coming off a loss and are 5-5 in their last 10.

This season the Spurs 27-13 at home and the Hornets are 21-19 away from the Big Easy.

The Hornets come into this game after leaving their offense at home in an 86-66 loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday night. The high scorer for the Hornets in that game was David West going for a whopping 14 points on 6/15 shooting. For the game the Hornets could not hit water if they fell out of a boat going 28/81 for a FG% of 34.6%. On D the Hornets allowed the Rockets to shoot 34/74 for a FG% of 45.9%.

The Spurs come into this game after crushing the Golden State Warriors 101-72 on Monday night. The high scorer in the game for the Spurs was Drew Gooden going for 20 points off the bench on 7/12 shooting. For the game the Spurs shot 37/85 for a FG% of 43.5%. On D the Spurs clamped down holding the Warriors to 28/82 shooting for a FG% of only 34.1%.

To say neither of these teams will light up the scoreboard is an understatement, as the Spurs rank 23rd in scoring this season (97 ppg) and the Hornets rank 26th (95.8 ppg). On D both teams are legit, as the Spurs rank 3rd in points allowed (93.2 ppg) and the Hornets are right behind them ranking 4th (94.1 ppg). Both of these teams are only decent on the glass, as the Spurs have a rebounding differential of +0.5 rpg and the Hornets are at -0.2 rpg.

This season the Spurs are 39-41-1 ATS and the Hornets are 34-45-2. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Spurs are 38-41-2 and the Hornets are 32-48-1.

On the injury front C Tyson Chandler is day-to-day for the Hornets while the Spurs are not reporting any significant injuries.

The Hornets have won 2 of 3 against the Spurs this season.

The PG match up is a great one and each has played well against each other this season. Chris Paul (22.8 ppg) is averaging 27.7 ppg and 8.3 assists against the Spurs this season and Tony Parker (21.9 ppg) is shooting 60.9% and averaging 21.7 ppg versus the Hornets this season.

The Hornets will have to find their offense tonight, as it left them last game. That will not be easy against a great defensive team like the Spurs.

Tyson Chandler (8.8 ppg 8.9 rpg) has missed the last 15 games due to injury, but should play limited action tonight. He will be needed to play good inside D against Tim Duncan (19.3 ppg 10.6 ppg) and Drew Gooden (11.9 ppg 7.2 rpg).

If the Spurs are hitting the outside J tonight they will be tough to beat, as the Hornets can’t come out to stop it because Gooden and Duncan will be able to score at will with the weak inside D that New Orleans has.

The Hornets will have to shoot the rock well tonight and they will need good scoring games from David West (20.8 ppg) and Peja Stojakovic (13.5 ppg).

Jason’s Pick: Look for the Spurs to be VERY motivated tonight and win big. Take San Antonio to win and cover.