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A Western Uprising In the Big Easy

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The defending champion San Antonio Spurs are now on the brink of elimination in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Perhaps above all, they have David West to thank.

The Hornets pasted the Spurs by 22 points when all was said and done last night, and that's only because West cooled down so steeply over the final three quarters.

This was the sort of performance that true All-Stars put forth in big games.

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In his three lesser quarters, David West settled for 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the field.

Again, those were his totals from his three least impressive quarters.

Yeah, we know.  Ridiculous.

But really, throughout his 7-for-8 first quarter and the rest of last night's all-important Game 5 between the Hornets and Spurs, David West simply dominated the black and silver.

Known for his mid-range jump shooting prowess, West was lethal as always when left alone from the elbows and wings.  When the Spurs didn't want to allow West to simply stand and shoot as he pleased, the New Orleans power forward started moving.

There was no stopping him then either.

If there has ever been a knock on David West's offensive game, it is that he occasionally becomes too dependent on his deep two-point shooting.  That was not the case last night.  He got into the lane for baby jumpers at will.  When the Spurs forced him into taking shots of the side-of-his-body-baby-hook-style variety, he banged those as well.  Throw in a few dunks, a couple of cuts for lay-ins, a 6-for-7 evening at the foul line and one beautifully executed driving reverse lay-up against Tim Duncan, and West made a 38-point effort look quite easy against one of the best defensive teams around.

Since Game 3, the Spurs have decided to focus on using Bruce Bowen to shut down Peja Stojakovic, conceding that Chris Paul is going to get his share of pionts against Tony Parker, and hoping to limit the rest of the New Orleans supporting cast.

For two nights, this plan worked fairly effectively.  In Game 5, the Spurs simply had no answer for the budding star that is David West.

The all-told  stat line once more for good measure: 16-for-25 shooting, 38 points, 14 boards, 5 assists, 5 blocked shots, 14 of the Hornets' first 19 points.

The man was a force in every facet of the game.

Hats off to the Big Easy's D-West for a job inordinately well done.