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Defensive and 4th quarter struggles continue…

Posted By Munaf Manji On Nov 4 2010 @ 1:34 pm In Houston Rockets | No Comments

The 3-0 and Hornets came into Toyota Center last night looking for their 4th straight win and second straight win over a division opponent, as the Rockets looked for their first win on the season. With a couple days off and some great practices Rockets looked poised to come away with their first victory. Last season Hornets took 3 out 4 from the Rockets with David West averaging 40 points in two trips to Houston.

Despite a hard fought game from the Rockets, and some big 3′s by Kevin Martin and Aaron Brooks in the 4th quarter to keep it close, their defense let them down yet again in a 107-99 loss, faltering the Rockets to 0-4 and the Hornets off to a suprising 4-0 start.

Rockets got Yao involved early in the game trying to establish him down low and get him into the groove of the offense. Yao got some great looks at the basket and knocked down the first basket of the game. At times you can see Yao struggling with his elevation off the floor where some of his shots fell short and he struggled to get some crucial rebounds. With all the frustration the fans are having it will take time for Yao to come back in pre injury form if he ever does. We have to remember that Yao missed all of last season and it’s been 4 games in the season, he has shown steady improvement each game. But as always his 4th quarter struggles continue.

Defensively Rockets gave up too many offensive rebounds in the first quarter and David West looked as if he was on pace for another 40 point night against the Rockets.  Scola, countless number of times failed to close out on West which allowed West to get open jump shots and knock them down.

A bright spot for the Rockets came in the second quarter where they gave up a season low 15 points! The difference? They forced jump shots instead of easy baskets in the paint and rebounded off of misses and did not give up 2nd chance points. The Hornets shot 4-18 from the field in the second quarter and were 12-19 from the free throw line in 1st half.   I thought that Jordan Hill played an excellent game and rebounded the ball well for the Rockets, barring some mistakes he did an excellent job of backing up Yao and bring a fresh breeze of energy for the Rockets. Jordan Hill in 26 minutes of action finished up with 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Rockets forwards and centers did a great job of getting a quick outlet pass to the guards and trying to push the ball up the floor and trying to get easy baskets.  The back court of Lowry and Brooks did an excellent job of attacking the basket and trying to make plays for the Rockets.

With all the great offensive numbers Scola is putting up, he’s giving up with the same amount to the opposition forwards. The difference was the play of Hornets foward Jason Smith who shot 5-8 from the field and went 4-4 from the free throw line finishing with 14 points and 9 rebounds. There was a point in the game where Jason Smith knocked down consecutive wide open shots. Scola did not score his first basket till the 3rd quarter of the game.  Scola finished up with 9 points (4-15) with another monstrous performance on the boards with 16 rebounds.

Rockets gave up 64 points in the 2nd half, and another horrible 4th quarter where they gave up 34 points. It’s plain and simple for the Rockets until they tighten up their defense in 4th quarter and make plays in final minutes where it counts it’ll be difficult for the Rockets to win ball games this season. You saw the frustration grow on Aaron Brooks face where at the end of the game he was given a techinical foul and ejected from the game.  The offense is no problem for the Rockets they can score at will whenever they want, but its all coming down to the defensive side of the game for the Rockets and making baskets in the finals minutes. It seems they are two or three stops away from notching a win, they have to make stops where it counts!

Key stats to the game:

-Hornets free throws : 30-42

-Rockets free throws: 13-18

-Hornets outscored the Rockets 64 to 50 in the second half.

-Rockets outscored the Hornets in the paint by 44 to 28.

-The Wildcats: Hill and Bud combined for 21 points (9-21 shooting) 10 rebounds 4 assists 2 steals 3 blocks off the bench.

The Rockets will travel up 1-10 to take on the Spurs, and in search of their first win of the season.

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