Rockets-Hornets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 24, 2013
The Houston Rockets were rolling when they made their last visit to play the New Orleans Hornets. Two-plus weeks later, the Rockets have slowed down considerably. Houston goes for its second victory in 10 games on Friday night when these teams close out their season series. Seven days after posting a 104-92 victory over the Hornets (14-28), the Rockets (22-22) were denied a season-high sixth consecutive win - and 13th in 16 games - with an 88-79 loss at New Orleans on Jan. 9. Houston committed 23 turnovers in that game and set a season low in scoring. That defeat was the start of a season-worst seven-game slide that ended Monday with a 100-94 victory at lowly Charlotte. The Rockets, though, couldn't build on that on Wednesday, committing 23 turnovers in a 105-95 loss to Denver to lift its league-leading average to 16.7. James Harden committed seven of those turnovers, completely overshadowing his team highs of 23 points and seven assists. "I think, right now, we are low on confidence, there's no question,'' said coach Kevin McHale, whose team has trailed by double digits in each of the last 12 games. "You can see it with our guys and we're going to have to pump 'em up and get 'em believing again.'' Jeremy Lin might need a pep talk, as he's spent considerable amount of time on the bench in the fourth quarter of the last two contests. The first-year Rocket is 7 for 24 from the field with 25 total points over the last three games and has just one fewer turnover than assists (eight) during that stretch. "Jeremy's fine,'' McHale said Wednesday. "We're just looking for some stuff (with rookie Patrick Beverley playing the fourth quarter), it wasn't anything.'' The Hornets, meanwhile, are enjoying their best stretch of the season - splitting their last 10 games - but coach Monty Williams isn't about to dismiss their defensive struggles, which happen to coincide with the team reaching the 100-point plateau in a season-best three straight. New Orleans is giving up 109.0 per game during this stretch and is 1-17 when opponents reach the century mark. "It starts with us on defense," Williams said after Wednesday's 106-102 loss at San Antonio. "... to think that we're going to show up and outscore teams - we've never been that, we're never going to be that." Still, Williams has to be pleased with forward Ryan Anderson finding his shooting touch. He's 11 of 25 from 3-point range and averaging 20.7 points over the last three games after missing 23 of 30 3s and scoring 9.2 points per game in his previous five. That rough stretch began Jan. 9 with an 0-for-7 shooting effort and no points. Anderson went a combined 4 for 18 from long range with 38 points in losses at Houston on Jan. 2 and Nov. 14 (100-96). Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez is averaging teams highs with 18.7 points and 11.3 assists against the Rockets this season. Harden's 28.7 points per game lead Houston in those contests, while he's second in assists, two behind Lin (16). Harden is two shy of tying Moses Malone's team record for consecutive games (23) as the Rockets' leading scorer.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

DeMarcus Cousins traded to Pelicans for players, picks

West teammates hilariously celebrate Durant and Westbrook oop

Report: Romo willing to rework contract to facilitate trade

Lonzo Ball's father says son is better than Curry right now

Report: Rams could have interest in Cousins if Goff flops

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mike Trout talks about 'frustrating' struggles of Angels

Report: Butler to Celtics talk will loom over All-Star week

Report: Carmelo expects to remain with Knicks

James Harden: ‘For sure’ I’m the best player in the world

Report: Pats expected to make good effort to keep Bennett

Glenn Robinson III dunks over three people to win Slam Dunk Contest

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Best of Yardbarker: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

Box Score 2/17: Happy birthday, Michael Jordan (and welcome to 1000 point club, Sid!)

The 'Michael Jordan might still win the Dunk contest if he entered' quiz

How to reboot NBA All-Star Weekend

Second-year NBA stars who can salvage the season

Observations from a day at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Box Score 2/16: Getting ready for the ASG

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of YB: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Who will break these NBA All-Star Game records?

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

How to reboot NBA All-Star Weekend

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Second-year NBA stars who can salvage the season

Observations from a day at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker