Game On: Hornets @ Rockets

Published: January 9, 2013

Things have been on a slight uptrend for New Orleans recently with back to back wins over Southwest division rival Mavericks and Spurs. Tonight they go for their longest winning streak of the season against yet another division foe the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are on their own five game winning streak. New Orleans should have a big homecourt advantage with the Rockets on the second night of a back-to-back. Let’s jump right into it…

3 Things to Watch For

Pace is the Trick

Houston plays with the fastest pace in the league while the Hornets are on the opposite end of the spectrum as the slowest. The Hornets simply do not have the personnel to go running up and down the court, and need to do everything they can to slow down the game. This means taking as much time as they need to on offense. Unless the Hornets are playing in transition or get a particularly good look, don’t expect them to be shooting early in the shot clock. It won’t be fun or pretty to watch, but if it results in a win then I’m good with it.

Defend the Paint from Penetration

Last time they faced the Hornets, the Rockets put up 60 points in the paint. Even worse, most of that came on penetration from the perimeter. The Hornets can’t break out the ¡Olé!-style of perimeter defending. They need to at least put up a little big of resistance and try and slow down Line, Harden and Parsons so that the bigs can rotate over and provide some help. It’s hard. I get that but no one is asking for them to be shut down. Just don’t allow them to stroll right up to the basket. Gordon playing tonight should help.

Oh, and when Harden penetrates, the Hornets need to avoid fouling. Right now he is leading the league in And 1’s.

Mix It Up?

Monty has flashed some pretty creative offensive looks now that Eric Gordon has returned. Will he keep that up and break them out more often? Or will the Hornets go back to running pick and roll after pick and roll? With Eric Gordon getting back into basketball-shape I’m guessing we’ll see a few new looks tonight.

Lagniappe to Watch for

Eric Gordon

Just take a moment and enjoy because it’s nice to watch him healthy and playing very well.

Your Pregame Song


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