Hornets.com postgame: Rockets 84, Hornets 77

Hornets.com postgame: Rockets 84, Hornets 77

Thursday, April 26, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com
Rockets (34-32), Hornets (21-45)

It was over when… Goran Dragic drained two free throws, putting Houston up by three possessions at 84-77 with 24 seconds remaining. After the Hornets had led wire to wire, the Rockets significantly outplayed their guests in the final quarter for a comeback victory. Playing with another new starting lineup, New Orleans played well for much of the game before running out of gas late. The Hornets closed April with an 8-6 record, by far their best month of 2011-12. New Orleans heads into the offseason with the next big date being May 30, when the draft lottery will be held. The Hornets ended up tied for the third-worst record in the NBA, matching Cleveland’s record of 21-45. Sacramento is 21-44 heading into a late-night Thursday home game vs. the Lakers.

Hornets MVP: Tough call but why not give it to Darryl Watkins? He easily cleared his career high in scoring with 13 points, while also grabbing 10 rebounds to achieve a first NBA double-double. The second-year center also was a disruptive force on defense, posting one block and three rebounds

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: With Watkins taking MVP honors, it's logical to give the top reserve honors to Carl Landry, who had an extremely efficient game in only seven minutes of action. The power forward scored eight points on 4-for-5 shooting, while grabbing three rebounds. Landry also received an extremely warm welcome from the fans of his first NBA team.

The buzz on… center. Like so many things this season, the initial plan for this position went completely out the window due to injuries. The season began with Emeka Okafor and Chris Kaman starting together in a super-sized frontcourt, but the Hornets later decided to move Kaman to the bench. After a stretch in which Kaman was not with the team, Okafor later sustained a knee injury that caused him to miss the final two and a half months of season. With Okafor sidelined, Kaman regained an extremely critical role, playing the lion’s share of the minutes at the 5, with virtually no other true center on the roster. Kaman helped the Hornets recover from a 4-23 start by often powering the offense, particularly during the team’s 3-2 pre-All-Star break road trip. Kaman is an unrestricted free agent this summer, while Okafor still has two years remaining on the extension he signed with the Bobcats prior to being traded to New Orleans. When Okafor and Kaman were both out, Jason Smith slid over to the 5 and did a commendable job in spot duty.