Notebook: Rockets 104, Hornets 92

Posted Jan 3, 2013 12:11 AM

Matt Miller, for

THE FACTS: The Houston Rockets were attempting to capture an offensive rhythm throughout the evening, but the gritty New Orleans Hornets were unwilling to let the tempo get out of control. That is, until the fourth quarter, when Patrick Patterson popped off the bench to help the Rockets finally hit their stride.

Patterson scored 13 of his 15 points on 6-for-6 shooting and grabbed five of his season-high 10 rebounds in the fourth period to guide Houston to a 104-92 victory over the Hornets on Wednesday at Toyota Center. James Harden led the Rockets (18-14), winners of seven of their last nine games, with 31 points and seven assists, while Omer Asik made his presence felt in the paint en route to a career-high-tying 21 points and eight boards.

Greivis Vasquez paced New Orleans (7-25), which lost for the 13th time in its last 15 contests overall and had a two-game road winning streak snapped, with 15 points and 14 assists. Ryan Anderson added 12 of his 18 points off the bench in the final quarter, but that was not enough for the Hornets to overcome a 60-28 deficit in the paint.

: "Down the stretch, when we realized the shots weren't falling, we started attacking the basket more. We started looking for one another, sharing the ball more ... We started doing that more often, and we were able to score at will."

-- Patterson

: New Orleans fell to 0-19 this season when trailing after three quarters and 0-14 when allowing at least 100 points as another spirited late-game rally fell short.

The Hornets, who entered the final period trailing by eight, tied the game at 82 on a Ryan Anderson 3-pointer with 6:58 remaining. Houston, however, would regain the lead and stretch it to 89-84 by converting baskets on three consecutive possessions.

: After Vasquez committed a careless turnover on an errant pass that landed in the crowd with New Orleans trailing 87-84, the Rockets scored on their next trip down the court and maintained an advantage of two possessions or greater for the remainder of the contest.

: "I thought we had some empty possessions ... and they capitalized. Every time we made a mistake, they were at the rim. ... They played in our paint all night long."

-- Hornets coach Monty Williams

: Asik capped Houston's three-game homestand with a pair of high-quality performances, averaging 16.0 points on 13-for-21 (61.9 percent) shooting, 12.5 rebounds and 1.0 block over those two games.

NOT: The Rockets matched their season low in made 3-pointers, draining only five of 24 attempts (20.8 percent) from behind the arc. This came on the heels of a game in which Houston matched the franchise record for most treys made at Toyota Center (16).

GOOD MOVE: With Vasquez saddled with foul trouble and unable to find his shot during the first half, Williams relied upon rookie Brian Roberts to direct his team's offense. Roberts answered the bell with an efficient effort off the bench, finishing with 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting and zero turnovers in less than 14 first-half minutes.

NOTABLE: The Hornets played without shooting guard Eric Gordon, who appeared in the previous two games following a 29-game absence due to patella tendon disorder and a bone bruise in his right knee. Williams said Gordon will return to the lineup Saturday at Dallas, describing the decision to sit Gordon against the Rockets as a precautionary move that was recommended by doctors. "We just have to be careful," Williams said. "We don't have a lot of back-to-backs coming up, so this is the one that we kind of targeted that we wanted to watch out. ... He's healthy, but total health means you're in shape and physically able to do the things you know you're capable of doing." ... The Rockets won their first game of the calendar year for the first time since 2007, snapping a five-game losing streak. ... Houston improved to 3-0 this season when it pours in at least 60 points in the paint. ... Harden has scored at least 25 points in 10 consecutive games. ... The Rockets are now 9-2 when Harden reaches 30 points. ... New Orleans has lost four consecutive games in Houston. ... The Hornets fell to 0-15 this season against fellow Southwest Division members and 2-16 against the Western Conference. ... Nine of Houston's next 11 games are on the road, and it will not play consecutive contests at Toyota Center again until Feb. 2 and 5.

UP NEXT: For the Hornets: Saturday @ Dallas, Monday vs. San Antonio, Wednesday vs. Houston. For the Rockets: Friday @ Milwaukee, Saturday @ Cleveland, Tuesday vs. L.A. Lakers.