The Hornets lost a sloppy one at home tonight against the visiting Houston Rockets, 100-82
It was the fourth time this season New Orleans had faced the Rockets, and Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams said before the game that New Orleans knew the team they were up against tonight. And Houston knew them.
But the Rockets were the ones able to capitalize on it, holding the Hornets to just 38.8% from the field and 15% from outside, while tallying a 20-9 advantage in fast-break points and a 44-34 edge in rebounds. The Hornets only managed 22 defensive rebounds, a new season low.
The Rockets’ James Harden lead the way for Houston, putting up 30 points — including 12 in the third quarter — and dishing out eight assists, as well as shooting 12-for-12 from the line. It’s the third time in four games Harden has scored at least 30 points against the Hornets, and the thirteenth time he’s scored 30-plus this season.
Harden scored 11 points in the first quarter alone, leading the Rockets on a 15-2 run that took just five-and-a-half minutes. Harden’s floating jumper from four feet out with 5:40 to go in the first gave the Rockets the lead, and they would never lose it.
“I don’t think it ever happened from the start of the game,” said Williams in his postgame press conference. “We didn’t have the kind of focus that is necessary to play against an NBA team. Especially one that has beaten you pretty good.”
Williams said the team started slipping during the second half of Monday’s game against the Sacramento Kings, and it’s been downhill since.
“We started messing with the game,” he said. “And when you mess with the game it has a way of messing with you.”
Williams tried what he could tonight, including benching Greivis Vasquez for most of the game due to his poor play, and rotating his lineups in order to shake things up, but was unable to discover the right formula, especially on defense. The Hornets are 1-18 on the season when they let their opponent score 100 or more points.
The Hornets head to Memphis Sunday for the start another long road trip. They’ll be away for five games before returning to the New Orleans Arena on Feb. 6 to face Phoenix.
Sunday’s game tips off at 5 p.m.
The Hornets did manage to force 22 Rockets turnovers but were unable to capitalize on them, scoring just 20 points. Eight of those turnovers were given up by the Rockets’ Harden, but it didn’t slow him down.
Eric Gordon scored 16 points in the first half, shooting 6-of-10 from the field and 2-of-3 from outside. He finished with 20 points, two assists and a steal.
Ryan Anderson came off the bench to put up 19 points, four rebounds, one assist and a steal.
Houston Forward-Center Patrick Patterson recorded his second double-double of the season with 18 points and 13 rebounds. The rebound total tied his career-high set in 2011 against Utah.
Jeremy Lin snagged six steals, the most by an individual opponent against the Hornets this season.
New Orleans entered tonight’s game shooting seventh in the NBA from beyond the arc (37.6%), but were just 3-20 tonight.
Plenty of people skipped the first major parades of this year’s Super Bowl-extended Carnival season to catch a game tonight — official attendance came in at 15,302 (tickets sold, not turnstile).
Listen to Monty Williams' full postgame press conference: