Notebook: Hornets 88, Rockets 79

Posted Jan 9, 2013 11:21 PM

Bradley Handwerger, for

THE FACTS: The New Orleans Hornets roared back from a 10-point third-quarter deficit to push past the Houston Rockets 88-79 Wednesday night, winning their third consecutive game.

And they did it behind reserve Roger Mason Jr.'s 15 fourth-quarter points, which started a 22-2 run that clenched the game for New Orleans, its third straight win. Mason finished with 17 points in the game two nights after not playing at all against San Antonio.

Mason also helped shut down Houston's James Harden defensively in the final frame, keeping the Rockets' energetic guard to only three points in the fourth.

New Orleans' three straight wins is a season high, and all three victories have come over Texas teams, the previous two being a 95-88 win over San Antonio and a 99-96 overtime win at Dallas.

New Orleans managed the shocking fourth quarter, in which it outscored the Rockets 28-10, without either Anthony Davis or Robin Lopez on the floor as Hornets coach Monty Williams went with a smaller, quicker lineup to combat Houston.

The key to the comeback was keeping Houston from getting easy shots. The Rockets were just 4 of 19 in the final 12 minutes and turned the ball over four times.

Harden finished with a game-high 25 points for Houston.

Greivis Vasquez finished with 17 points and 11 assists while Jason Smith added 17 points and 10 rebounds to go with three blocked shots.

QUOTABLE: "There was such a good flow going that once I got Eric (Gordon) back in the game. They just seemed to click a little bit. You just don't want to mess with it. As a young coach, I don't want to over coach the game and start doing things that are going to start messing up the rhythm."
-- The Hornets' Williams on the decision to keep Davis and Lopez on the bench in the fourth quarter.

THE STAT: 5. The combined points of New Orleans' two leading scorers on the season. Gordon scored five points on 2 of 12 shooting while Ryan Anderson didn't score at all, missing on all seven shots he took. Coming into Wednesday night's game, Gordon was averaging 18 points while Anderson was at 17 per game.

TURNING POINT: New Orleans gave up a 13-2 run early in the third quarter that appeared to put the game out of reach. And then Mason entered. The reserve guard scored nine points in the opening six minutes of the fourth and turned the game around. Two long jumpers and a 3-pointer pulled the Hornets to within 69-68. After a Toney Douglas jumper for Houston and two Brian Roberts free throws, Mason gave the Hornets a lead on another 3-pointer, an advantage New Orleans would never give up.

QUOTABLE II: "A lot of what we did was self-inflicted. I'm not worried about the shots. It's the turnovers and not keeping them off the glass that hurt us."
-- Rockets coach Kevin McHale on what made a difference Wednesday.

NOT: Houston didn't get much production from its starting forwards with Chandler Parson and Marcus Morris as they went a combined 5-of-16 for 15 points. Parson was just 2-of-7 from 3-point range and missed several long-range shots down the stretch that contributed to the Rockets' defeat.

NOTABLE: New Orleans has won three straight against Southwest Division opponents in consecutive games for the first time since joining the division. ... Houston's Harden extended his streak of scoring at least 25 points to 14 games, setting a Rockets franchise record, besting the previous record of 13 held by Moses Malone in 1982. ... For the 10th time this season, the Hornets' Vasquez scored at least 10 points, had at least 10 assists and made one 3-point shot. The only other players in Hornets' history to do that were Chris Paul, Kenny Anderson and Baron Davis. ... Houston has lost 12 consecutive road games to Southwest Division opponents

UP NEXT: For the Hornets, Friday vs. Minnesota, Sunday @ New York, Tuesday @ Philadelphia. For the Rockets, Friday @ Boston, Saturday @ Philadelphia, Tuesday vs. Clippers.