Houston 94 (28–27) | New Orleans 102 (30–26)
Solid. Fast-paced and a little frustrating towards the end, but solid all the same.
The Hornets started strong through the first, nailing down a lead that the Rockets were never able to catch. Both teams went with a crazy pace, firing shots mere seconds after crossing half court. But the Rockets, despite a late push, were ultimately undone by a poor performance at the stripe and an even poor-er showing from deep.
Collison continued his strong play at the helm of the Bees. He did turn the ball over 5 times, but his shot selection was much better than it has been of late. The Hornets also had strong showings from Mo Pete (3 for 6 from deep with 2 steals) and The Big Oak (11 boards, 6 blocks), which was helpful due to poor outings from Peja and Marcus. Both guys had trouble locating the rim all night (I think Peja actually air-balled a few), and combined they only sunk 10 of their 29 shots.
The Rockets, on the other hand, were an odd bunch. No one played particularly poorly (though Ariza did try his best by bricking 8 of 10 shots), but at the same time no one stepped up and really took over. Aaron Brooks (the other one), who's speed is the first I've seen that can match Dimes' on the court, had a nice game, but 15 points, 8 assists, 1 rebound, and 2 steals isn't exactly legendary. I suppose Budinger had the strongest showing from the Houston side. In just 24 minutes off the bench he managed 18 points (including 3 treys), 5 boards, 2 blocks, 1 steal.
Ultimately, poor shooting caused the Rockets' undoing, proving that quantity (of possessions) does not equal quality (making shots). The Hornets were able to keep up with the pace–which was quite impressive considering that we played 7 guys for the vast majority of the game–and took home not only the W but also the series lead on the Rockets 2–1.
Have a fantastic evening (sorry no bullets) and I'll see you guys back Friday when the Magic come to town.
Opponent's Take: The Dream Shake