Houston Rockets Beat the New Orleans Hornets Sans Davis 95-75

Published: October 12, 2012

The Hornets suffered a 20-point defeat on a back-to-back. They were without rookie Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon and Jason Smith.

Another pre-season game in the books folks and that means more time to assess players. Our undefeated meaningless win-streak is over which saddens us all. The Houston Rockets took control of this one from the outset putting pressure on the Hornets guards forcing them into turnovers.

New Orleans had no one who would be the aggressor on offense and that led to long contested jump-shots which meant a 10 point 3rd quarter was inevitable.

Let’s break this down for those lucky enough not to witness the game.

The Good

  • Al-Farouq Aminu is a project no doubt, but Head-Coach Monty Williams wants to see him take the next step and that starts right now. So far this preseason Aminu has shown glimpses of what he can be and also what he has been. Tonight when not being forced to create his own shot Aminu did well. His jump-shot looks to be coming along and he appears active at times cutting and crashing the boards. Defensively he’s still impressive, but it’s on offense where he’ll determine his future. Leading points scorer at 15 on 10 shots, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a blocked shot and 4 turnovers in 30 minutes.
  • Darius Miller continues to show his potential in the NBA. While it is still preseason he has impressed in every single outing he’s had. To me that says something albeit minuscule. Again tonight he looked fluid in his jump-shot. Finished with 10 points on 7 shots, (2 Three pointers)

The Bad

  • 8 for 30 on 3-pointers is never going to cut it in the NBA. This had a lot to do with poor offensive sets, ball-movement and dribble penetration. The Hornets looked out of funk the entire night and this is the nature of preseason. As coaches look to install more offensive sets it takes longer to get more fluency. The Hornets were without two of their most valuable players tonight so this probably contributed.
  • Greivis Vasquez had yet another bad night turning the ball over and shooting bricks. Many guys list him as the breakout player this season, but he could be breaking out of New Orleans if he keeps it up. I love Vasquez’s game and being a point-guard with this many new faces is tough. I think as the season progresses so too will Vasquez. He did have 3 steals tonight!
  • Poor defensive rotations led to the game being blown out at the end of the second quarter. This continued for much of the game as the Hornets let the Rockets get easy transition baskets. Monty Williams is going to be all-over the guys for this.

The Ugly

  • Austin Rivers struggled mightily tonight. The Rockets did an excellent job of containing his dribble off the pick and roll forcing him to be a creator. A lot of times this season he’s going to have nights like this. He needs to remain aggressive. When the Rockets forced him to be a creator he couldn’t find his guy so he’d set up for a long jumper which resulted in a miss. He didn’t turn the ball over much which is still pleasing. Final stat-line: 7 points on 12 shots, 1 assist, but only one turnover.
  • An Oh-furr from Roger Mason Jr. tonight. Missed all seven of his shots, five of which were from three-point range. That’s pretty ugly.

I know people will want to say, “Hey you can’t say anything, it’s preseason!” But those people need to understand what we use preseason as. This is a time to evaluate but not make judgements about the future. While we critique these players we only do so because:

a. It’s our first time seeing them

b. We want to know what we have to work with and

c. Where have and where are they improving?

We’re not saying Austin Rivers is going to be terrible, but he was tonight and we’ve seen patterns in his game that are concerning. On the flip side we’ve also seen how hard he works and how talented he is on the court.

I’m strapping myself in for a wild journey this season and I’m going to be more patient than I ever have been. Let’s give these guys space to blossom because in 3 years time we’ll be looking back at this season as where it all began.

Follow James on Twitter at @jsgrayson


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