Great match up between a dynastic team nearing the end of its reign and an upstart on the cusp of greatness.
Here's how it will break down:
At the backcourt, how the Spurs defend Chris Paul will be crucial: if they force him to become a scorer, i.e., play him like they guarded Nash, a more dangerous passer, shut off his passing options, Paul will score 30 plus but fail to crack double digits in assists. Paul is not a great straight up defender, so Parker must continue to run and run and run, be a fast break unto himself. If Ginobili's jumper is on, he becomes truly indefensible - can bury the three, fake it and go to the cup or pull up for the mid range j in the paint. If he is off, the Hornets have a better chance to win. Peterson won't be much of a factor today. Finley can threaten from outside, but his tank seems empty too.
Frontcourt: it comes down to how either team defends West or Duncan. Hornets must continue to double Duncan, but only once he makes the first move towards the hoop. Otherwise his passing will dissect them into pieces, assuming their long range game is on. Provided West's back is back to optimal levels, the Spurs cannot afford guard him with anyone other than Duncan himself. His length and all nba defense know-how will keep West under control. Shotblocker extraordinaire Chandler may be able to produce more than either Oberto or Thomas, but his lingering foot injury may not allow that to happen. Bowen will continue to neutralize Stojakovic's deadly perimeter game, because he is the best follow and lock defender in the league. So look for the hornets to try and have Peja take Bowen off the dribble, instead of spotting up for jumpers that never come.
It looks like the Spurs' experience will keep the game close to steal it in the end, but if they use the incorrect strategy, look for a blowout win from the Hornets.