Rockets Late Run Dooms Hornets To Defeat
The New Orleans Hornets (7-25) have had their share of close losses this season. Add Wednesday's road defeat to the Houston Rockets(18-14) to the growing list. While the final score of 104-92 doesn't seem close, the Hornets had the Rockets on the ropes until the final minutes. However, like they have most of the season, New Orleans stumbled down the stretch.
Missed shots, poor rebounding, and a corner 3 by Houston forward Patrick Patterson pushed the Rockets to a double-digit lead in the waning moments of Wednesday's game. Before that, New Orleans competed well, trading blows with their Southwest divisional foe.
While Robin Lopez (12 points, 8 rebounds), Jason Smith (12 points, 2 blocks), and Anthony Davis (8 points, 7 assists) stuffed the stat sheet, none was very effective defending the paint when Houston would penetrate.
Rockets star guard James Harden was dominant, scoring 31 points. His outside shot was off early, so he began to take it to the lane, where the Hornets had no answer. That opened up Houston's offense, where they destroyed New Orleans 60-28 in points in the paint. Patterson had a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds), and scored 13 points in the 4th quarter.
As they have been for all but two games this season, New Orleans was without Eric Gordon. The shooting guard was held out for precautionary reasons by coach Monty Williams. Eric has had not setbacks since returning from his knee injury last Friday, but was held out to make sure he didn't put extra strain on his surgically repaired right knee. Wednesday's game was the second of a home and road back-to-back, and the Hornets have stated they would limit Gordon's progress upon his initial return to the floor. Williams noted that Gordon will see increased playing time for Saturday's game in Dallas versus the Mavericks. Tip-off for that one is set for 7:30.