San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Hornets Preview and Pick – 2008 NBA Playoffs – Game 8

San Antonio Spurs (63-30), +2, o/u 182.5 vs. New Orleans Hornets (63-30), -2, o/u 182.5, New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, 8:30 p.m. Eastern, Monday.
By Oracle of

In the all-or-nothing Game 7 between New Orleans and San Antonio on Monday night, the Hornets are hoping to steal some of the veteran savvy from the Spurs in hopes of making the Western Conference finals.

The Spurs have been in this situation before win or go home. In fact, that’s exactly what they faced Friday night in Game 6 before coasting to a 99-80 victory, ultimately leading to Game 7.

The Spurs have a veteran tested squad, led by Tim Duncan, who’s helped the franchise win four NBA titles in a nine-year span. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli have also been Duncan’s wingmen throughout the years.

Then there are the Hornets, whose youth and energy has given teams fits all year long, taking the defending champion Spurs to the brink of elimination. Chris Paul, David West and Tyson Chandler will try to take away the torch during Game 7 at the New Orleans Arena, maybe starting a new power to be reckoned with in the West for years to come.

It helps head coach Byron Scott and his squad that they have the comfort of sleeping in their own beds during the last three days off, as the Hornets, who have yet to be beaten at home in the playoffs, will host the Spurs.

The all-important home advantage has been documented thoroughly lately, especially in this series, where the home team has won by double-digit points in every game.

Heading into the contest, the Hornets opened as a slight favorite -2 according to many online sportsbooks. However, that mark has already moved up to -4 at many sportsbooks around the net, and even -4.5 in some places.

The over/under mark opened up at 182.5 points as well.

The Hornets have beaten the Spurs by an average of nearly 20 points per contest in their three home games against the defending champs.

During the Game 5 win for New Orleans at home, David West broke out with 38 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks, while as a team, held the Spurs to just 38% shooting from the floor.

Tony Parker and Chris Paul have proven to be two of the best point guards in the game during this playoff series. Both are leading their team in points, assists and steals throughout the first six games.

However, when it comes down to it, the game might be decided down low. Tim Duncan has been on and off all series long and hasn’t played well in New Orleans. Duncan is shooting just 12-for-38 (31.5%) from the floor and averaging just 11 points per game.

One of the biggest reasons for this is because of the interior defense of New Orleans, where Tyson Chandler and West have been looming. The Hornets have also consistently double teams Duncan throughout the post-season, making it difficult for him to find any open looks. Look for the Hornets to try to frustrate the big man once again.

And if that does happen, it might be a long night for San Antonio once again.

The home team has covered easily in the first six games of this series, which is good new for the Hornets, and bettors, alike.

The Hornets love being a favorite in the playoffs, as they’re 8-1 ATS in their last nine contests. They’re also 8-0 ATS at home as a favorite of .5-4.5 points.

The Spurs struggle covering on the road, going just 2-14 ATS in their last 16 overall games when they’re road dogs of .5-4.5 points.

A trend to watch for bettors is the fact that the home team is 5-0 ATS and the favorite is 7-0 ATS in head-to-head contests.

The under has come in more than the over in this series. However, the over is 10-2-1 for New Orleans after a SU loss by more than 10 points. It’s also 4-0 in San Antonio’s last four Monday games.

The experience and pride of San Antonio will show up in this game, but in the last nine years where they’ve won four championships, they’ve never come back from a 2-0 deficit to win a series.

Oracle’s Pick: San Antonio will keep this one close. It won’t be a blowout, but it’s hard to go against the young New Orleans squad at home. Take the Hornets to move on into the finals. New Orleans minus the points!