Hornets.com postgame: Rockets 108, Hornets 100

Tuesday, December 29, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Looking for a telling example of how damaging the Hornets’ subpar defensive performance on the road has been this season? Try tonight’s defeat in Houston. Despite David West tallying a career-high with 44 points, despite Chris Paul notching a triple-double, despite a solid performance by the reserves, New Orleans still could not overtake Houston.

The Rockets (19-13) scored 30-plus points in the first, second and fourth quarters and drilled a total of 12 three-pointers, spoiling the best offensive performance of West’s seven-year NBA career. The Hornets dropped to 2-13 on the road this season and 13-16 overall.

The second half was a tale of two completely different quarters. With West draining shots from all over the Toyota Center in the third period – including his third and fourth three-pointers of the 2009-10 season – New Orleans outscored Houston by a 31-13 margin. West’s 22-point individual quarter powered the Hornets to an 82-74 edge through three quarters.

New Orleans was 8-1 when leading after three periods going into this game, but Houston quickly regained the momentum early in the final stanza. The Rockets began the fourth quarter on a 23-4 run and finished with a 34-18 edge in the quarter.

West was unstoppable all game, finishing 18-for-30 from the field and topping his previous career-high in scoring of 40 points. Meanwhile, Paul logged 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. The Hornets’ subs were spearheaded by Darren Collison’s eight points in only 16 minutes, probably the best game he’s played since he returned to the second unit when Paul came back from his ankle injury. Fellow Hornets reserve Darius Songaila provided eight points in 17 minutes.

Add it all up and what could've been arguably the best win of the 2009-10 season for the Hornets transformed into another frustrating defeat on the road.