Hornets.com postgame: Rockets 100, Hornets 96
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Rockets (4-4), Hornets (3-3)
It was over when… trailing by four points and time ticking down, the Hornets used up far too much time before ending up with an Al-Farouq Aminu three-point attempt that misfired. The ball went out of bounds and back to New Orleans possession, but by then there were only 2.7 seconds left on the clock. The Hornets couldn’t quite overtake the Rockets in the second half, after falling behind 64-45 at intermission. New Orleans outscored Houston 51-36 from there, but was unable to get over the hump despite several clutch plays each in the fourth period from Greivis Vasquez, Ryan Anderson and Brian Roberts. The Hornets dropped to 1-1 on the road, but will head back to Louisiana for a Friday home game vs. Oklahoma City.
Hornets MVP: En route to a career-best 24 points, Vasquez seemed unconscious from the perimeter at times, particularly when he made consecutive three-pointers late in the fourth quarter, then tossed in an off-balance 22-footer while being fouled (unfortunately for New Orleans, the shot was disallowed). Overall, Vasquez went 8-for-15 from the field (3-for-3 on treys)and 5-for-5 on free throws. He also again had a stellar floor game, notching nine assists and just two turnovers. The third-year pro has 53 assists in six games this season, an average of 8.8.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game:Anderson has reiterated to the local media lately that it's a fact of life that he's going to have subpar shooting nights every so often. Wednesday was one – he went just 2-for-10 from three-point range. However, the beauty of Anderson’s game is that he doesn’t have to be lights-out from the perimeter to contribute. The fifth-year pro pulled down several rugged rebounds, scoring three baskets in the second half on putbacks alone. He finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds (6 offensive boards). Roberts chipped in with nine points off the bench, including seven in the fourth quarter.
The buzz on… a pair of Hornets early-season rarities. Stingy defense and productive frontcourt play had been staples of New Orleans’ first handful of performances this season. On Wednesday, the Hornets gave up an uncharacteristic 64 points in the first half, yielding too many open shots and Rockets penetration. Houston also took advantage of a few long rebounds off misses by NOLA to get out in transition and beat the visitors down the floor. The Hornets’ starting frontcourt had been very consistent prior to Wednesday, but combined to shoot just 10-for-27 from the field and grab 12 rebounds. Counterintuitively, though, all three frontcourt starters finished in the positive side of the plus-minus ledger, based largely on an overall fast first-quarter start and strong fourth quarter.