Game On: Hornets @ Rockets

Published: November 3, 2010

Matchup: Hornets(3-0) @ Rockets(0-3)
Off Efficiency: Hornets 103.6(12th), Rockets 106.3(8th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 97.7(6th), Rockets 112.4(30th)
Pace: Hornets 94.6(26th), Rockets 104.1(2nd)

The Hornets roll into Houston to face an almost desperate Rockets team still looking for their first win of the season.  The Rockets have the worst rated defense in the league right now – though a lot of that had to do with a run-and-gun shootout in Golden State that inflated the numbers.

Regardless, the Rockets have been unable to guard shots from the perimeter or at the hoop, and they have forced only 10 turnovers per game, which is the 29th worst in the NBA.  Offensively, they’ve been efficient behind the stellar early production of Kevin Martin and Luis Scola, but it hasn’t been enough.

Both teams have been poor on the boards, though the Hornets are one of the worst in the league, and the Rockets are merely bad.  Perhaps we’ll see a competition to see how many rebounds can hit the floor before someone touches it.


In our running NBA 2K11 Simulation, the Hornets lose to the Rockets 134 to 85 and Paul manages 2 points.  Screw you, NBA 2K11.  You might be the best basketball game ever, but you are SO wrong.


Hornets: None
Rockets: Yao plays half-games due to worries about his feet.

Positional Analysis

PG: Chris Paul v Aaron Brooks
Advantage: Hornets
An efficient scorer last season, Brooks hasn’t shown much of that this year, firing away at 35% from the floor the first three games.  Unfortunately for the Rockets, Brooks doesn’t do much of anything else when he’s not scoring, so this is been a problem for him.  Paul, of course, is as deadly as he’s ever been – and he’s doing that while coasting for part of the game and picking his spots.

SG: Kevin Martin v Marco Belinelli
Advantage: Rockets
Kevin Martin scores more efficiently than any guard in the league.  1.53 points per shot, even when he’s struggling a little with his three-point shot.  In 3 games, he’s earned – and made – 30 free throws.   He’s not doing anything else – assists, steals, rebounds, defense – these are somewhat foreign to him, but expect Cookies and Buckets to be frustrated for a lot of the game.  Cookies, of course, hasn’t shown much efficiency at all, shooting poorly in all three games.

SF: Shane Battier v Trevor Ariza
Advantage: Hornets
The Rockets were comfortable letting Ariza walk because they had Battier and Budinger to fill in for him.  So far, Battier’s defense has been alright, but his production otherwise has been non existant.  In 28 minutes a game, he’s producing 4 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists with no free throws and some weak shooting numbers.  While Ariza’s shooting numbers are even worse, his efficiency is better because he’s actually drawing free throws and hitting a three here and there.

PF: Luis Scola v David West
Advantage: Rockets
This is a battle I always love.  Both players seem to take it as a challenge to embarass the other – and really both typically score easily on each other.  Though West has been more efficient so far this season than he’s ever been, this position swings in favor of the Rockets because Scola has continued his incredible play from the World Championships.  He’s not only putting down 27 points a game on 19 shots, but he’s also ripping down 14 rebounds.  West hasn’t hit double digits in boards yet this season.  I don’t expect him to control the boards tonight, either.

C: Yao Ming v Emeka Okafor
Advantage: Hornets
Yao plays half the game.  Okafor does too.  Yao gets 11.5, 8.5 and 2, Okafor gets 7.3, 7.0 and 1.7.  So how does Okafor outstrip Yao?  Because Yao has struggled to get back in the flow offensively, taking 10.5 shots to get that paltry 11.5 points, and has turned the ball over almost 4 times a game.  Okafor may not be as major a part of the offense that Ming is, but when he takes a shot, he’s at least converted those shots at a high rate and made few mistakes

Hornets: Marcus Thornton, Jason Smith, Willie Green, Jerryd Bayless
Rockets: Brad Miller, Chuck Hayes, Kyle Lowry, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger
Advantage: Rockets
This is a hard one to call.  The Rockets have a pretty solid back five, but outside of Lee none of them have been amazingly efficient.  The Hornets reservers are actually slightly less efficient as scorers, but they defend hard, don’t turn the ball over (except for Bayless), and defend much harder than the Rockets crew.  In the end I give the Rockets the edge because their second unit has more rebounding prowess than the Hornets reserves.

Enjoy the Game.  Talk it up in the comments.


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