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


  1. Tony

    October 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    A tweaked groin!?? Oh hes not commited to the team. Hes injury prone! Use him as trade bait!! (sarcasm) lol

  2. xman20002000

    October 13, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Smith, Davis and EG were out… What contribution do they make in scoring… Plus the KIDS you sight is one foot out of high school… We will be OK…

    • Ron

      October 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      the KIDS you sight is one foot out of high school…

      Grammar fail.

      Anyway, this is why “they” shouldn’t have allowed such young people into the league: bad teams pay them many millions of dollars to grow up, and then they (except for a few noticeable exceptions) move onto another team for their prime years.

      The D League is where kids should go when they understandably want to make money.

      • Beckers

        October 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm

        Ron: I agree with you. Even though A. Davis and A. Rivers were in college while drafted but they are still too young. They’re ONLY 19 or 20 years old. The NBA drafts too many young men while still in college and even right out of high school. I understand that it’s every young basketballer’s dream to play for the NBA and it’s a once in a life time experience but a college degree goes way beyond. These young men needs time to grow up first whether mentally, physically, psychologically…In my opinion, the NBA should draft players after they graduate college. I know some people may disagree with me and it may not make sense now but it will in the long run once you retire in your mid to late 30s.

  3. Mike W

    October 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    No one made Bill Gates attend college or graduate before pursuing his dream to create Microsoft. So, why should basketball players be forced to attend college? Only because the current system benefits the NCAA and NBA, not the players.

    When you restrict a player from entering the NBA, you benefit the NCAA and NBA. The NCAA gets a bigger TV contract, and the NBA has a less expensive feeder system. Who loses out? The players.

    • Ron

      October 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      Yes, people have the right to earn a living. That’s why “must be 22 years old before draft” was thrown out.

      That’s explicitly and precisely why I wrote The D League is where kids should go when they understandably want to make money.

      They make money, grow larger and gain skill. Kinda (nay, exactly) like college hoops without the indentured servitude.

  4. kfte

    October 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I say it this summer Greivis can’t play. Why,because he was not a star on his country’s Olympic team. If you can’t star on your country team when you are the only NBA player what does that say about your ability. We need to fine another point guard to assist Roberts.

    • Jack

      October 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Well, I agree with he hasn’t playing well this preseason. I can’t agree that he didn’t star in his country’s olympic team. He was a clear leader there.

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