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Game On: Rockets @ Hornets
Houston Rockets (41-37) @ New Orleans Hornets (44-33)
Pace: Rockets 97.0 (7th), Hornets 90.8 (29th)
Offensive Efficiency: Rockets 108.2 (5th), Hornets 104.1 (18th)
Defensive Efficiency: Rockets 106.7 (21st), Hornets 101.9 (7th)
I am become death, destroyer of seasons.
Cue throat stomp.
The Hornets can pretty much end any hope the Rockets have of making the postseason, and ensure their own advancement as well with a win tonight. After losing last night to Sacramento (Thanks Marcus Thornton!), the Rockets desperately need a win to keep their thin playoff hopes alive, while a Hornets victory would bump the into the 6th seed. If Houston loses, they would have to win their final three games and Memphis would have to lose its remaining four for the Rockets to get the final playoff spot.
In all likelihood, though, the Rockets will miss the playoffs regardless of what happens tonight. Hollingerâ€™s playoff odds now put the Hornets at 99.2%, the Grizzlies at 97.4%, and the Rockets at a mere 3.4%.
The following is from Red94–
As you may have heard by now, as word does get around quickly, the Houston Rocketsâ€™ season ended last night with a loss to the Sacramento Kings. Â The good guys made a run of it, but in the end, could not overcome their prior futility, a state of events very much reflective of their season as a whole.
There will be months to ponder the ramifications of the season as a whole and as many to anticipate the next; barring intervention the scale of the divine, there will be no postseason for the Houston Rockets.
The Hornets, on the other hand, are still very much in control of their own destiny. They own the season series tie-breaker against Portland, and with a win tonight they would tie them in the standings for the 6-seed. Thatâ€™s a very important place for the Hornets to be, as a first round playoff series with LA would be less than desirable.
The Actual Game
Scola vs Landry is going to be the most interesting matchup of the night to watch, as the two are former teammates. Itâ€™s important that Landry can slow down Scola, who typically is on the receiving end of a statistical beat-down from David West when these two teams meet. On the glass is where Landry really needs to focus his attention, as that is where he has struggled the most in replacing West’s production.
His defensive rebounding struggles especially are a bit hard to understand, since he’s obviously athletic. He was a solid rebounder his first two years in the league, but things have just gotten progressively worse ever since then.
Monty Williams needs to continue to emphasize rebounding to Landry, since his numbers in New Orleans are actually worse than they were in Sac-town. He’s averaging only 6.1 rebounds per 40 since getting to the Crescent City, the lowest number of any Hornets big man.
Michael noted last time that the Hornets have a hard time with unconventional offenses that donâ€™t allow them to set up their D. Thatâ€™s exactly what the Rockets will try to do, and itâ€™s up to Monty Williams to make sure that they Hornets donâ€™t get into a shootout with a team unsuited for that kind of game.
The keys for the Hornets are to play at a nice slow tempo, avoid turnovers, limit Houstonâ€™s transition buckets, and stop Kevin Martin (who went for 33 points on 15 shots last time) from a being too deadly. They donâ€™t really have the personnel to stop Martin if he’s shooting well(who does?), but limiting the easy ones would be nice.
Do I need to say this? Is this really what the world has come to? This physically pains me.
Chris Paul needs to hold his own against Kyle Lowry.
Notes From The Arena
- If the Hornets win tonight, they will have made the postseason three of the last four, and six of the last nine seasons.
- Crazy traffic getting here if you’re coming from uptown on St. Charles. A tractor-trailer carrying a giant concrete pole got stuck in the middle of the intersection, and it’s unclear if the city of New Orleans will ever get it out. There were five people standing around scratching their heads (literally) when I finally got by. If the crowd looks sparse early on, this could be a reason why. What is normally a 10-15 minute trip for me took 45-50 minutes.
- The mood is rather tense in both locker rooms, as it’s clear this is a huge game for both squads. If the crowd shows up…
- There is a free show at Lafayette Square (aka Wednesday at the Square) where Trombone Shorty (among others) is playing. Oh yeah, there is free beer, too. That’s about half a mile away from the Arena. Still, anything less than a sellout would be disappointing considering the magnitude of this game.
- I will be on ESPN’s Daily Dime chat throughout the game.
Talk it up!