Spurs Try to Rebound

Tim Duncan was annoyed, muttering after losing a ball out of bounds, and later staring at the floor with his hands on his hips after missing a foul shot.

After averaging nearly 25 points and 14 rebounds in five playoff games against the Phoenix Suns, Duncan did little right for the Spurs in Game 1 at New Orleans on Saturday night.

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Hornets center Tyson Chandler anchored a defensive effort that routinely employed double-teams against Duncan, who missed eight of nine shots, made only half of his six free throws and finished with five points and three rebounds.

That kind of outing from Duncan is rare. The Hornets aren't sure they can lock down the Spurs' perennial All-Star again in Game 2 on Monday night, but they certainly intend to try.

``They want to give him more shot attempts, want to get him more looks at the basket,'' Hornets forward David West said. ``We're not going to leave any of our guys one-on-one with anybody. We haven't done that all year. We won't allow our teammates to get embarrassed, so he's going to get more shots, but every time he catches the ball he's going to see a line of defense. He's going to see Tyson, he's going to see the next line and the next line of defense.''

Chandler said he's considered Duncan the best center in the game for a long time, and because of that has studied Duncan's game to see what he could learn about playing the position. There's another benefit to that for the Hornets in this series.

``I've been watching him so much I know his game and I kind of know his counters,'' Chandler said. ``I don't think you'll necessarily stop Tim out there. He's too good of a post player. The thing we have to do is keep him away from his spots. Keep him away from easy buckets. I've watched him long enough to kind of know his game.''

Duncan's response? Everyone will have to wait and see. The Spurs had scheduled practice at the New Orleans Arena on Sunday, but canceled it.

The Hornets, meanwhile, practiced only briefly after watching some game film. Hornets coach Byron Scott said he wanted his players as fresh as possible because he expects them to push the tempo.

``We have to use what we've got. We have the youth, younger legs, things like that,'' Scott said. ``We're a little more athletic than they are. We have to try to use those things to our advantage.''

West's ability to score on mid-range jumpers, post-up moves and drives to the hoop was what made him a first-time All-Star this season, and was the difference in the series opener. He finished with a playoff career-high 30 points.

The Hornets have now beaten San Antonio three times this season, all lopsided affairs that featured prolific scoring by West.

Spurs guard Tony Parker made note of that after Saturday's game, saying the Spurs need to refine their defensive approach on West specifically and not be overly preoccupied with Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul.

One change Gregg Popovich could try is putting Duncan, one of his best defenders, on West.

If that matchup materializes, Scott said, the Hornets will respond by keeping West on the wing, limiting Duncan's ability to be a rebounding or shot-blocking force inside.

Then there's the matter of stopping Chandler, who converted more than 100 alley-oop feeds from Paul during the regular season and had another in Game 1 of this series.

``You have to have a solid defender guarding Tyson,'' West said. ``I know that is one of the reasons why they put Tim over on Tyson, to make sure he can protect the basket.''

In any event, Scott expects Duncan to be much more of a factor from here on, and he does not think it is realistic to expect his team to run away from the defending champions as the Hornets did in their 101-82 Game 1 triumph.

``Tim is too proud to come out and play that way again,'' Scott said. ``In our minds right now, this is going to be a long series. They're just too good of a team to play the way they played (Saturday) night for four more games or five more games, so we didn't get their best shot.''

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