Game On: Rockets @ Hornets

Published: January 25, 2013

The Rockets are sliding.  Will the Pelinets grease the skids?

Much like the the Spurs on Wednesday night, it feels like the Hornets have seen a lot of these Houston Rockets.  This game will mark the end of the season series between Houston and New Orleans, and the Rockets currently hold a 2-1 advantage, though they have only outscored the Hornets by 1 point total over those three games.

So, like I did with San Antonio, I’m going to focus on the last 10 games the Rockets have played to try and get an idea of their current issues and strengths – and to illustrate the reasons they’ve lost 8 of their last 10 games.

The first thing you realize when taking a look at the Rockets stats is they really haven’t done anything that different offensively over the last 10 games.  They are still one of the leagues worst at turnovers, and the league leader in shot attempts.  They are taking two more three pointers.  They are drawing 1 less free throw.  Their execution is off a little, shooing 1.5% worse overall, 2% worse from three point range, and 3% from the line.  Not exactly a smoking gun, right?

Well, then we shift to the other side of the court, where the defense has slipped as well.  Over the last 10 games, Rockets opponents have improved their field goal percentage by 2%, their 3pt% by 2%, drawn 4 more free throws – and hit those free throws 80% of the time.  Their opponents have also cut their turnovers percentage by 3% per game.  Combine both sides of the floor, and you can see why the Rockets have gone from having a +2 point differential to a -6 point differential over the last ten.  It’s a game of percentages.

Happily for the Hornets, this trend has actually gotten worse over the last 5 games.  May it continue.

Keys to the Game

  • The Rockets rank dead last in turnover percentage this year – and over the last 10 games.  Apply a modicum of pressure and this team will cough up the ball.  Anthony Davis, Gordon and Aminu, I’m looking at you.
  • Control the defensive glass.  The Rockets are good shooters and draw a lot of free throws.  The Hornets absolutely cannot afford to give up second chance looks for this team as well.  The Hornets have been strong on the glass lately.  That needs to continue.
  • Attack off the dribble.  During the season, the Rockets haven’t been giving up many free throws – but over their last ten games they’ve been fouling much more freely, ranking 21st in the league.  The Hornets should attack and see if they can take advantage of this.

Enjoy the game!


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