Hornets’ Weaknesses Quite Clear Against Rockets

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.

So why?

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.


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12 responses to “Hornets’ Weaknesses Quite Clear Against Rockets”

  1. On the ball defense killed us tonight. I loved the effort by the bench tonight though. Especially from my boy J-Smitty. V-ques cudnt stay in front of Lin for all the money in the world. and harden just did his harden thing. u can say all the things in the world about V-ques not having the necessary foot speed to defend, but a big part of defense is anticipation. and that will definitely get better with practice and studying.

  2. Great recap. The only thing I will add is Vasquez going an atypical 1-6 and River shooting his normal percentage from the field (.33) but on 11 shots really hurt. In addition to 3 pt shooting, if Vasquez makes more shots and Rivers takes fewer shots we are probably in the game at the end.

    • You must didn’t watch the game. Vasquez couldn’t hit anything it was an off night for him. Rivers made some beautiful passes but everyone including him was off

      • I did watch the game, and nothing you said contradicts what I wrote. (It sounds like we agree completely on Vasquez’s performance last night.)

        Does anyone know how to look up the percentage of shots a player takes that are blocked, especially layups? Rivers had another blocked last night.

      • 504ever, 82games.com has some really good stats including blocked shot stats. Rivers has 26% of his close in shots blocked, 10% of his jump shots, and 15% of his total. Very, very high numbers.

  3. Vasquez and Rivers refused to penetrate past the 3-point line, often hovering 4-6 feet outside it. Lopez was running an extra 10 feet to set picks, which were useless because they were so far away from the goal. Timid, listless game from both. Vasquez also failed to get back to stop transition dunks.

    Gordon was also passive for long stretches, though he did go to the basket in spurts. The whole team was passive and slow, getting beat to loose balls, committing stupid reach fouls, and making stupid turnovers (not looking for Jason’s outlet pass, standing out of bounds to catch a pass, dribbling off foot, etc.) This was how we got to the bottom earlier in the season, and I don’t want to go back there!!!

  4. Clearly the game plan last night for the rockets was too run as much as possible on offense and to press for practically the entire game on defense. Vasquez could not handle either which I think is probably why he sat almost all if not all of the fourth quarter. He was completely overmatched athletically and there was nothing we could do about it.

  5. Everyone is correct in commentary but the article pretty well summarized the game… Our perimeter defense was horrible and we didn’t make many 3pt shots… We were 3-20 and they were 11-21 or 15% and 52.4%, respectfully….

    We can’t win a game with Vasquez scoring 2 points and Rivers scoring 6 in 24 and 20 minutes respectively… Gordon did score 20.. Roberts 4 points… COME ON MAN… Our starting C played 18 minutes scoring 6 points.. Why have Lopez’s minuted declined so dramatically…

    Plus how do we match up against Lin and Hardin… This is a coaching headache…

  6. 37mn 7/13fg 2/3 3pt 1/2Ft 4reB 11Ast 3stl
    while Holding Lin To 5Pts
    That Was Our wIn Vs The rockets
    GV is Capable Vs Lin
    No, He Did Not Play Well… But Aside From Flashes From Gordon Who Was? GV Has To Be On The Court For Us To Win Games… He Is Currently Our Only Facilitator And Without Him On The Court The Offense TendS To Stall…
    This Is A Young Team Still Learning Through Struggles …
    Should HavE Had GV/EG/AA/ And Either 2 Of Smith Davis And Ryno on The Court In The fourth

    • I think Coach feels if we have a shot at winning.. We seem to have a problem at the C position with Lopez on the bench late in the 4th quarter… Someone said we have finesse guards… Adding to everything else.. we are soft in the paint… We may have been better off keeping Aaron Gray or bringing him back…

      • While I Do Agree We Are soft, Lopez Is Not The Answer In The Fourth Due To His Inability To Be An Effective Rebounder… Davis, Smith And Ryno are More Active On The Glass…

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