Season Finale Game On: Hornets @ Rockets

Published: April 26, 2012

Less than a week ago, the Hornets beat the Rockets in OT to stick a fork in the Rocket’s Playoff hopes.  Will the Hornets do it again and scatter more ping-pong balls across the lottery landscape?

End of the Road

A pretty tumultuous season ends in Houston tonight.  Despite all the losing early in the season, and the gnashing of teeth accompanying this mad dash out of the bottom three of the league, I feel like the season is ending on a positive note.  New Owner, New Lease, New Star, New Young Prospects, and two lottery picks.  I can live with that.

As for the game tonight, Houston hasn’t played well in three weeks when they had something to play for, so I can’t really expect them to play well tonight when they are done for the season.  The Rockets are littered with veterans who have a place in the league, and I just have a feeling that once again, the young corps of Hornets players hungry to stay in the league will play with energy and trump whatever pride the Rockets are now playing with.

Keys to the Game

  • Don’t play Gustavo Ayon.  Scola was his hero – a guy he modeled his game after, and he played hard against him in the last matchup.  Don’t let Ayon take over!!!
  • Please Monty, give 48 minutes each to Watkins, Dyson, Lance Thomas, Xavier Henry and . . . Aminu?  Landry?  Crap, those guys will probably win it for us . . . Can we borrow Willie Green for a game?  Marcus Vinicius?  Maciej Lampe?

Okay, the Real Keys to the Game

The Rockets are the definition of mediocre.  They have slightly better than mediocre Free Throw, Turnover, Effective Field Goal, and Rebound Rates.  And to compound it, they post slightly worse than average numbers for Opponents in all four categories.  This is pretty unusual.  Most teams have a strength or two they rely on, or a weakness you can exploit.  The Rockets are simply solid at everything.  So what do the Hornets do?

  • Allow Houston to post up.  The Rockets big men – Camby, Scola, Patterson, etc, are not physically overpowering big men.  They like to operate in the mid post, taking jumpers and fade away shots more than forays into the paint.  Let them do it.  As a team, they take a lot of those shots and are below the league average at finishing them.
  • Despite their struggles at mid-range, the Rockets are actually pretty solid when shooting behind or just inside the three point line.  The Hornets will need to recover sharply after collapsing on drives to prevent themselves from being riddled by long range jumpers.
  • Drive, Drive, Drive.  Houston allows a lot of shots at the rim, and lacking a shotblocker, is the fourth worst in the league at contesting those shots.  Considering their defense is pretty good at all other shot locations, the Hornets should try to attack this weakness with determination.

Enjoy the game!



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