Published: January 25, 2013
The outcomes of some games are determined by nuances, subtleties of the game, or being able to capitalize on pure luck.
This was not one of those games.
This time, it’s easy find the answer to “Why?” in the bulk play statistics of the 100-82 loss by the New Orleans Hornets to the Houston Rockets.
Still, let’s walk through this systematically. We start with the most important statistic there is: the score.
Clearly, the Rockets scored more. Why? In terms of bulk shooting, the Rockets had 9 fewer shots from the field (80-71), but 6 more free throws. Still, this is advantage Hornets, so we turn to percentages.
The Hornets shot for a very nice 17-20 (85%) from 1, an about average 28-60 (46.7%) from 2, and a will-you-please-do-something-else-award-winning 3-20 (15%) from 3. By comparison, the Rockets shot 21-26 (80.8%) from 1, 23-50 (46%) from 2, and a please-Mommy-make-it-stop 11-21 (52.4%) from 3.
There’s the game.
Pick on the rebrounds, as on ORB% of 13-35 (37.1%) is inexcusable for the Hornets to allow, but the Hornets won the turnover battle handily (21-15), and so it goes elsewhere.
It was the 3’s.
Well, Anderson went 0-5, but both of those numbers are issues. Missing 5 3-pointers is bad enough, but Anderson averages about 8 attempted 3’s per 33 minutes, of which he sinks nearly 40%. Roberts went 0-4 at this distance. Aminu went 1-2, Gordon 2-4, and everyone else missed 0, 1 or 2 3-point shots.
It just goes to show how thin the Hornets are. If they do not have their main players at an average or above level, the likelihood they win plummets. They have very little margin for error. Once an opposing team takes Anderson out (or Anderson does), the team is not the same. When they fail to get the defense to space in response to his 3-ball shooting, things just clamp down elsewhere.
Lastly, something has to be done in the backcourt. Lin and Harden played for 73 minutes a and went 8-15 from 2, and 3-6 from 3, and 18-20 for 1. The Hornets starting back court, on the other hand, played 55 minutes and went 5-14 from 2, 2-6 from 3, and 6-8 for 1. This gives the Rockets a huge point advantage: 43-22. A 21-point advantage from the starting guards.
Of course, the Rockets starting guards played about 30% more minutes. Factoring in all guard minutes, the Hornets were outscored 48-32 with 89 minutes played by Rockets guards and 118 minutes for Hornets guards. A 16-point differential in an 18-point game with the Hornets guards played 29 more minutes.
Something has to be done besides waiting for Eric Gordon to heal if the Hornets want to win consistently, though I do believe that Gordon is getting back into his playing form. Still, the Gordonful Hornets are well-scouted it seems, and the Hornets will not be able to win at the unsustainable 70%ish rate when Gordon was playing before the teams adjusted.
See you Sunday.